The Far-Infrared Space Telescope, FIRST, is the fourth ESA cornerstone mission, with a 3.5 m telescope and 3 instruments for imaging and spectroscopic measurements over the wavelength range 80 - 670 microns. FIRST will 'fill-in' one of the final great unexplored regions of the spectrum with high sensitivity and angular resolution for the first time.
FIRST is curently scheduled for launch in 2007 and will have 3 instruments, PACS ,HIFI and SPIRE. The submm group at MSSL is involved in the SPIRE consortium. SPIRE is a camera and medium resolution spectrometer for the 200 - 600 micron range and will make a fundamentally important deep survey for galaxies at high-redshift (see also ....) which should be able to properly constrain models for the formation and evolution of galaxies.
MSSL has two major areas of responsibility. On the scientific side, Dr Walter Gear is the UK Project Scientist for SPIRE, responsible for defining and maintaining the science goals and ensuring that the final instrument is able to deliver these goals to the community. On the hardware side, MSSL is responsible for the design and construction of the overall structure of SPIRE.
For further details:
The FIRST mission and Satellite
The SPIRE Instrument
Submm Group | Extragalactic Group | MSSL