Mission ObjectivesISO was able to make chemical diagnoses of celestial objects including planets, comets and stars, as close to home as our own solar system and as far distant as other galaxies. Many new discoveries have been made as a result of ISO's data, and are still being made today.
Mission NameISO stands for Infrared Space Observatory.
SpacecraftThe ISO satellite essentially consisted of the following:
OrbitISO's highly elliptical orbit had a perigee at around 1000 km; an apogee at 70 500 km; and a period of almost 24 hours. The lowest parts of the orbit lay inside the Earth's van Allen belts of trapped electrons and protons. Inside these regions ISO's detectors were scientifically unusable due to effects caused by radiation impacts. ISO spent almost 17 hours per day outside the radiation belts and during this time all detectors could be operated.
Operations CentreThe Science Operations Centre at ESA's Satellite Tracking Station at Villafranca (Spain) was responsible for the control of the satellite. This is also where observations were scheduled. However, for scientific use ISO needed to be in continuous contact with a ground station. NASA's station at Goldstone (US) tracked ISO when it was obscured from Villafranca by the Earth.