This 1/10th scale model of the Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, was manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for display purposes. It is soldered and screwed together. Plastic components are painted and coated. Textured surfaces mirror those of the original telescope. The Kapton and aluminized Mylar coverings are adhered to the surfaces. Decals are also adhered to the surfaces in some areas.
The Spitzer Telescope was the fourth in NASA’s “Great Observatories” along with Hubble, Chandra, and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. The “Great Observatory Era 1989-2010” was a time of “rising internationalization” however Spitzer, though available world-wide to astronomers on a peer-reviewed competitive basis, is a completely American project. Spitzer, a 5-meter long craft with an .85 meter mirror, built by the Ball Aerospace Corporation and Lockheed Martin, was launched in 2003 and operated in its “cold” mode until May 2009 when its coolant was depleted. Since then it has continued to observe the infrared universe in a “warm” mode, and is presently maintaining its basic engineering functions.
In 2010, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory transferred this model to the Museum.