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Spitzer Resurrector Mission: Advantages for Space Weather Research and Operations

Shawn M. Usman, Giovanni G. Fazio, Christopher A. Grasso, Ryan C. Hickox, Cameo Lance, William B. Rideout, Daveanand M. Singh, Howard A. Smith, Angelos Vourlidas, Joseph L. Hora, Gary J. Melnick, Matthew Ashby, Volker Tolls, Steven Willner, and Salma Benitez

In 1979, NASA established the Great Observatory program, which included four telescopes (Hubble, Compton, Chandra, and Spitzer) to explore the Universe. The Spitzer Space Telescope was launched in 2003 into solar orbit, gradually drifting away from the Earth. Spitzer was operated very successfully until 2020 when NASA terminated observations and placed the telescope in safe mode. In 2028, the U.S. Space Force has the opportunity to demonstrate satellite servicing by telerobotically reactivating Spitzer for astronomical observations, and in a separate experiment, carry out novel Space Weather research and operations capabilities by observing solar Coronal Mass Ejections. This will be accomplished by launching a small satellite, the Spitzer-Resurrector Mission (SRM), to rendezvous with Spitzer in 2030, positioning itself around it, and serving as a relay for recommissioning and science operations. A sample of science goals for Spitzer is briefly described, but the focus of this paper is on the unique opportunity offered by SRM to demonstrate novel Space Weather research and operations capabilities.

Spitzer Resurrector Mission_ Advantages for Space Weather Research and Operations
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