NASA has completed preliminary design review for the wide field instrument of an infrared-based telescope to explore distant space. The space agency said Wednesday that it met the design, schedule and budget requirements of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope's WFI. This milestone allows NASA to commence detailed design and fabrication.
WFIRST will record data on the universe from beyond the lunar orbit via two instruments: the WFI and the coronagraph. The WFI will gather data on planets and other celestial bodies surrounding distant stars beyond the sun. The instrument will also work to illustrate the way matter forms and moves across the universe.
“The expansion of the universe is accelerating and one of the things the Wide Field Instrument will help us figure out is if the acceleration is increasing or slowing down," Jeff Kruk, WFIRST project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA engineers will use the review's data to prepare for the WFI's critical design review where the instrument will undergo testing in simulated space environments. The critical design review is scheduled to begin in June 2020 in preparation for WFIRST's tentative launch in the mid-2020s.