Systems Engineering Seminar

The Origins Space Telescope:
The predecessors and unique challenges of a 4 Kelvin Observatory

Presented by:
Michael (Mike) DiPirro, PhD., Code 552

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 1:00 pm
Building 3 Auditorium (GSFC)


To be successful in the design, build, verification, and operation of a low temperature observatory, one must first deal with the BFP: the Big Fundamental Problem, which is achieving low temperature. Cryogenic design techniques are employed, such as staged cooling, use of proper materials for thermal conductivity and isolation, strategic use of superconductivity, and deterministic solutions to thermal problems. This results in a design that works at all levels: quick trade-offs can be performed with hand calculations; detailed modeling can be done with fewer uncertainties; testing can be performed with better assurance of full performance while assuming lower cost risk. Adapting one of Einstein's sayings, "Cryogenics should be as simple as possible and no simpler."


After receiving a PhD in Low Temperature Physics from the State University of NY at Buffalo, and a one year NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Bureau of Standards, Mike DiPirro joined NASA Goddard in 1980. He has worked on a number of Astrophysics missions over the last 38 years including COBE, ASTRO-E, -E2, and -H, Spitzer, WIRE, WISE, and JWST. Between COBE and ASTRO-E he was the PI on the Superfluid Helium On-Orbit Transfer Flight Demonstration, and Co-I on a Cross Enterprise Technology Development Program to develop a new type of adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator. He is currently the Technical Lead and Chief Technologist for the Origins Space Telescope study for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey.


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