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Session 71 - Space Astronomy in the Next Millennium.
Display session, Wednesday, January 17
North Banquet Hall, Convention Center

[71.01] Beyond the Great Observatories: NASA Planning for Space Astronomy (2005 -- 2015)

E. Weiler, M. Kaplan (NASA HQ), H. Thronson (UWyo)

Three major space astronomy study committees will conclude their work during autumn, 1995, as described during the oral sessions at this meeting: the Space Interferometry Science Working Group (SISWG), the Exploration of Nearby Planetary Systems (ExNPS) process, and the AURA ``HST & Beyond'' committee. These three efforts have recommended a suite of highly-capable space astronomy missions to be launched approximately in the 2005 -- 2015 period, which will continue the tradition of powerful scientific tools for the broad astronomical community. This poster outlines the recommendations of the three committees and the current planning by NASA Headquarters to fulfill essential goals for UV/visual/IR space astronomy over the next two decades.

At present, the three committees recommend for future space astronomy the following elements: [1] completion of the Great Observatory program and Bahcall Committee recommendations via continuation of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and development/launch of the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), and [2] development/launch of a large-aperture IR/visual facility-class space telescope and a mid-infrared spatial interferometer. These latter two new missions are in response to the recommendations that the scientific investigation of ``cosmic origins'' be central to space agency planning: the birth and early evolution of normal galaxies, the birth and death of stars and their surrounding planets, life elsewhere in the cosmos, and the fate of the Universe. Moreover, this proposed suite of major facilities will provide the astronomical community with powerful tools over the next 20 years for investigating a wide range of astronomical problems, with very high sensitivity and angular resolution throughout the UV/visual/IR regime.

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