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21 September 2012 The next-generation infrared space telescope SPICA
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We present the overview and the current status of SPICA (Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics), which is a mission optimized for mid- and far-infrared astronomy with a cryogenically cooled 3.2 m telescope. SPICA has high spatial resolution and unprecedented sensitivity in the mid- and far-infrared, which will enable us to address a number of key problems in present-day astronomy, ranging from the star-formation history of the universe to the formation of planets. To reduce the mass of the whole mission, SPICA will be launched at ambient temperature and cooled down on orbit by mechanical coolers on board with an efficient radiative cooling system, a combination of which allows us to have a 3-m class cooled (6 K) telescope in space with moderate total weight (3.7t). SPICA is proposed as a Japanese-led mission together with extensive international collaboration. ESA's contribution to SPICA has been studied under the framework of the ESA Cosmic Vision. The consortium led by SRON is in charge of a key focal plane instrument SAFARI (SPICA Far-Infrared Instrument). Korea and Taiwan are also important partners for SPICA. US participation to SPICA is under discussion. The SPICA project is now in the "risk mitigation phase". The target launch year of SPICA is 2022.
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Takao Nakagawa, Hideo Matsuhara, and Yasuhiro Kawakatsu "The next-generation infrared space telescope SPICA", Proc. SPIE 8442, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 84420O (21 September 2012);

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