Orbiting and Retrievable Far- and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer

ORFEUS-SPAS satellite

ORFEUS was a 1m-telescope containing two ultraviolet spectrometers.The telescope was built into the german reusable satellite ASTRO-SPAS was was brought into space by the Space Shuttle for two times: 1993 (5 days) and 1996 (14 days). In space the satellite was released for the duration of the mission and carried out its measurments flying free in space. At the end of the mission the satellite was captured by the space shuttle and brought back to earth.

The project was a german-american collaboration of the following institutions:

  • NASA: shuttle flight, american project management
  • DARA (totday DLR): german project management
  • University of California in Berkeley (UCB): EUV/FUV spectrometer
  • Landessternwarte Heidelberg: optical design of the german FUV echelle spectrometer
  • Universität Tübingen: scientific project management, development and construction of detector and electronics for the german FUV echelle spectrometer, mission planning
  • Deutsche Aerospace AG (DASA, today EADS-Astrium): satellite ASTRO-SPAS
  • Company Kayser-Threde: telescope ORFEUS and echelle spectrometer

Besides the ORFEUS telescope also the Interstellar Matter Absorption Profile Spectrograph (IMAPS) was attached to the ASTRO-SPAS satellite. It was built by the Princeton University and was originally designed as rocket experiment. For the ASTRO-SPAS flight it was slightly modified. It was the third spectrometer on board the ORFEUS-SPAS missions.

The ASTRO-SPAS project was cancelled after the 4th flight due to lack of funding (2 ORFEUS flights and 2 CRISTA flights). The satellite is now to be seen in the Deutsches Museum in Munic. The telescope is is owned by our institute.

The data gained by the two ORFEUS-SPAS missions are public and accessible from the Multimission Archive at STScI (MAST). The data of the echelle spectrometer of the ORFEUS II mission can also be downloaded from our webserver.

ORFEUS Telescope in the Museum of the University of Tübingen

(Image: Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics)

The upper part of the ORFEUS telescope in the Museum of the University of Tübingen in the exhibition "Der Himmel. Wunschbild und Weltverständnis" (until October 2011).