The Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) was launched into space by a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on 25 August 2003. Consisting of a 0.85-meter telescope and three cryogenically-cooled science instruments, Spitzer was the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space at the time.
Spitzer is the final mission in NASA's Great Observatories Program - a family of four orbiting observatories, each observing the Universe in a different kind of light (visible, gamma rays, X-rays, and infrared). Other missions in this program include the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO), and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory(CXO). Spitzer is also a part of NASA's Astronomical Search for Origins Program, designed to provide information which will help us understand our cosmic roots, and how galaxies, stars and planets develop and form.
The Spitzer Cryogenic mission ended after 5.75 years on May 15, 2009 with the depletion of the liquid helium coolant. The spacecraft then operated without coolant for 10.5 years during the Spitzer Warm and Beyond missions from July 27, 2009 until the spacecraft was decommissioned on January 30, 2020.
Spitzer Pocket Guide (PDF, 672 KB)
Detailed description of the Spitzer mission.