The LOng-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) is an instrument that was designed, fabricated, and qualified for the New Horizons mission to the outermost planet Pluto, its giant satellite Charon, and the Kuiper Belt, which is the vast belt of icy bodies extending roughly from Neptune's orbit out to 50 astronomical units (AU). New Horizons is being prepared for launch in January 2006 as the inaugural mission in NASA's New Frontiers program. This paper provides an overview of the efforts to produce LORRI. LORRI is a narrow angle (field of view=0.29°), high resolution (instantaneous field of view = 4.94 μrad), Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 20.8 cm diameter primary mirror, a focal length of 263 cm, and a three lens field-flattening assembly. A 1024 x 1024 pixel (optically active region), back-thinned, backside-illuminated charge-coupled device (CCD) detector (model CCD 47-20 from E2V Technologies) is located at the telescope focal plane and is operated in standard frame-transfer mode. LORRI does not have any color filters; it provides panchromatic imaging over a wide bandpass that extends approximately from 350 nm to 850 nm. A unique aspect of LORRI is the extreme thermal environment, as the instrument is situated inside a near room temperature spacecraft, while pointing primarily at cold
space. This environment forced the use of a silicon carbide optical system, which is designed to maintain focus over the operating temperature range without a focus adjustment mechanism. Another challenging aspect of the design is that the spacecraft will be thruster stabilized (no reaction wheels), which places stringent limits on the available exposure time and the optical throughput needed to accomplish the high-resolution observations required.
LORRI was designed and fabricated by a combined effort of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and SSG Precision Optronics Incorporated (SSG).