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Session 4 - Space Mission Status.
Display session, Monday, January 15
North Banquet Hall, Convention Center

[4.06] The Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, A Status Report

G. Schneider, R. I. Thompson, M. Rieke, E. Mentzell, K. Kormos, B. Stobie (Steward Obs., U. of Arizona)

The development of the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), a second-generation instrument to be installed on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) during the February 13, 1997 on-orbit servicing mission, is nearing completion. The current status of that development effort from the perview of anticipated scientific capabilities, instrumental performance, and on-orbit operating considerations are reported here. NICMOS will provide infrared imaging and spectroscopic observations of astronomical targets between 0.8-2.5 microns. NICMOS is an HST Axial Replacement Instrument, containing three cameras designed for simultaneous operation. The NICMOS optics will present the detectors with three adjacent, but not spatially contiguous Fields-of-View of different image scales. NICMOS will employ three low noise, high Quantum Efficiency, HgCdTe 256x256 Focal Plane Arrays in a passive dewar using solid N2 as a coolant. Thermoelectric cooling will prolong the nominal mission lifetime to approximately 4.6 years. Each camera carries a complement of 19 of these optical elements, selected through three independent Filter Wheel Mechanisms. Grism spectroscopy, in the widest field camera (number 3) will provide a multi-object spectrographic capability with a resolution of 200. A 0.3 arc-second radius occulting spot, and optimized cold mask, in the intermediate resolution camera (number 2) provides a coronographic imaging capability. The NICMOS Fore-Optics Assembly will fully correct the spherically aberrated HST input beam. NICMOS will achieve diffraction limited performance in the high resolution camera (number 1) to 1.0 microns, and in camera 2 to 1.75 microns. An internal Field-Offset Mechanism will allow NICMOS to observe background fields and in parallel with other HST instruments without the necessity of re-pointing the spacecraft.

Support for this work was provided by NASA through contract number NAS5-31289.

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