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Posts Tagged ‘james webb space telescope’

NASA’S Webb Telescope Team Completes Optical Milestone

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Engineers working on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope met another milestone recently with they completed performance testing on the observatory’s aft-optics subsystem at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp’s facilities in Boulder, Colo. Ball is the principal subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for the optical technology and lightweight mirror system.

“Completing Aft Optics System performance testing is significant because it means all of the telescope’s mirror systems are ready for integration and testing,” said Lee Feinberg, NASA Optical Telescope Element Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Since last May, the AOS has undergone a series of thermal, vibration and cryogenic testing to demonstrate that it can withstand the rigorous vibration environment of the rocket launch and remain precisely aligned in order to function at the extremely cold temperatures in space.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/webb/news/aft-optics.html
Also: http://www.ballaerospace.com/page.jsp?page=30&id=511

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NASA Goddard Engineers Testing Webb Telescope’s OSIM and BIA Instruments

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Image Credit: NASA Goddard/Chris Gunn

Image Credit: NASA Goddard/Chris Gunn

Several critical items related to NASA’s next-generation James Webb Space Telescope are being tested in the giant thermal vacuum test chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

These photos show the OTE (Optical Telescope Element) Simulator or OSIM wrapped in a silver blanket on a platform, being lowered down into a vacuum chamber (called the Space Environment Simulator, or SES) by a crane to be tested to withstand the cold temperatures of space.

The OSIM simulates the Webb telescope for the purposes of testing the science instruments that will fly on the observatory. The OSIM itself will never fly into space, but it is a vital part of the testing program to verify that the science cameras and spectrographs will function as planned.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/webb-osim.html

AAS Issues Statement on President Obama’s Proposed FY 2013 Budget

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) today issued a statement thanking President Obama for his strong support of science as embodied in his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 but asking him and the Congress to strive harder to maintain a balance of small, medium, and large space missions in astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, and solar physics. Some provisions of the President’s FY 2013 budget, especially a 20 percent cut in NASA’s planetary science funding, threaten to undermine the recommendations of recent decadal surveys of these fields by the National Academy of Sciences.

“It is challenging to receive a budget from the President that supports part of our discipline and undercuts another,” says AAS Executive Officer Dr. Kevin B. Marvel. “We will work throughout 2012 to encourage Congress to fully support all of the decadal surveys’ priorities.”

“We are grateful that the funding for the James Webb Space Telescope puts it on track for a launch in 2018,” adds AAS President Debra M. Elmegreen (Vassar College), “and we hope we can achieve a balance of large, medium, and small projects in solar physics, planetary science, and astronomy and astrophysics so that U.S. leadership in these fields can be sustained.”

Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2012Feb23

Cryogenic Testing Completed for JWST Mirrors

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Cryogenic testing is complete for the final six primary mirror segments and a secondary mirror that will fly on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The milestone represents the successful culmination of a process that took years and broke new ground in manufacturing and testing large mirrors.

“The mirror completion means we can build a large, deployable telescope for space,” said Scott Willoughby, vice president and Webb program manager at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “We have proven real hardware will perform to the requirements of the mission.”

The Webb telescope has 21 mirrors, with 18 mirror segments working together as a large 21.3-foot (6.5-meter) primary mirror. Each individual mirror segment now has been successfully tested to operate at 40 Kelvin (-387 Fahrenheit or -233 Celsius).

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/webb-mirror-cryo.html

Physicist And Former Astronaut John Grunsfeld To Head NASA Science Directorate

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA has named physicist and former astronaut John Grunsfeld as the new associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. Grunsfeld will take the reins of the office effective Jan. 4, 2012. He succeeds Ed Weiler, who retired from NASA on Sept. 30.

Grunsfeld currently serves as the deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which manages the science program for the Hubble Space Telescope and is a partner in the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope. His background includes research in high energy astrophysics, cosmic ray physics and in the emerging field of exoplanet studies with specific interest in future astronomical instrumentation.

A veteran of five space shuttle flights, Grunsfeld visited Hubble three times as an astronaut, performing a total of eight spacewalks to service and upgrade the observatory.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/dec/HQ_11-396_Grunsfeld.html