The orbit selected for SPICA is a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth L2 libration point, as it provides a benign and stable thermal environment as well as a good instantaneous sky visibility.
The launcher selected for SPICA is the JAXA H-IIA-204 with a 5S fairing, which is compatible with the overall mission requirements. It will be launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre and is capable of delivering a mass of 3700 kg to L2. The fairing on the launcher is compatible with the 3.2-metre diameter telescope and associated thermal shielding.
SPICA ground segment and operations
The SPICA primary ground station will be located at Usuda in central Japan. It is proposed that the ESA Cebreros ground station will provide support.
The SPICA Mission Operations Centre (MOC) is to be located in Japan and operated by JAXA; it will be responsible for spacecraft operations. The MOC will provide the SPICA Science Operations Centre (SOC) with the science telemetry and will combine the instrument and spacecraft commands into a harmonised common telecommand timeline for upload to the spacecraft.
The Science Data Centre (SDC) at Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) will be responsible for initial data processing and data archiving; a European Data Centre (EDC) will provide support for European users of SPICA.
Instrument Control Centres (ICCs) will be set up for each instrument and will be responsible for operation, performance verification and calibration of instruments. The ICCs will provide support to the SOC and to data processing at the SDC and EDC.
SPICA is essentially a JAXA mission, with ESA assuming a partner role and taking responsibility for the SPICA telescope assembly, the European science ground segment (EDC, ground station(s)), SAFARI instrument systems engineering and management, and delivery of the SAFARI instrument.
A European consortium led by SRON is in charge of the SPICA Far-Infrared Instrument (SAFARI).
Korea, led by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), is responsible for Focal Plane Camera (FPC). US participation to SPICA has been discussed extensively and was strongly recommended in the US long-term plan ASTRO2010.