21 Sep 2009



ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) was an astronomical satellite that was operational between November 1995 and May 1998 and operated at wavelengths from 2.5 to 240 microns.

Infrared Space Observatory

​​​Infra-red Space Observatory (ISO)

Credit: ESA

RAL Space Involvement

RAL Space were involved the LWS (Long Wavelength Spectrometer) instrument on the ISO satellite. The LWS was built and then tested at RAL and we also carried out the instrument operations during the in-flight commissioning and Performance Verification phase of the mission. In addition, the science analysis software (pipelines) and user calibration tools were developed here.​



Main Objectives

ISO carried out deep observations of stars and distant galaxies revealing very strong evolution in the star-formation history of the Universe. ISO also conducted chemical diagnoses of celestial objects including planets, comets and stars, as close to home as our own solar system and as far distant as other galaxies.

Launch Date

17 November 1995


ESA, NASA, UK and world university groups.

Further Project Information


For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries