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Posts Tagged ‘JWST’

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

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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

Assembly Stand Completed for NASA’s Webb Telescope Flight Optics

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

The clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has received a giant structural steel frame that will be used to assemble the mirrors and instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope.

“This milestone is important as it marks the transition to the integration and testing phase for the Webb telescope’s optical telescope element,” said Lee Feinberg, Optical Telescope Element Manager for the Webb telescope at Goddard.

The Webb telescope is the world’s next-generation space observatory and scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The most powerful space telescope ever built, Webb will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the very first galaxies ever formed and study planets around distant stars.

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

Giant-Sized Webb Space Telescope Model to ‘Land’ in Baltimore

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Credit: EADS Astrium

Credit: EADS Astrium

Baltimore’s Maryland Science Center is going to be the “landing site” for the life-sized full-scale model of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, and it’s free for all to see.

The Webb telescope life-sized model is as big as a tennis court, and its coming to the Maryland Science Center at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from October 14 through 26, 2011. It’s a chance for young and old to get a close-up look at the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope in the same size it will be launched into space.

The real James Webb Space Telescope is currently being built, but this model will be constructed in a couple of days. The real Webb will be the largest space telescope ever built. Once in orbit, the Webb telescope will look back in time more than 13 billion years to help us understand the formation of galaxies, stars and planets.

Experts will be on hand to discuss the Webb telescope’s deep-space mission, how it will observe distant galaxies and nearby stars and planets, and the progress made to date in building the observatory. Spokespeople will also be available throughout the model exhibition.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/nasalife/features/webb-balto.html

Tests Under Way On The Sunshield For NASA’S Webb Telescope

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA is testing an element of the sunshield that will protect the James Webb Space Telescope’s mirrors and instruments during its mission to observe the most distant objects in the universe.

The sunshield will consist of five tennis court-sized layers to allow the Webb telescope to cool to its cryogenic operating temperature of minus 387.7 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Kelvin).

Testing began early this month at ManTech International Corp.’s Nexolve facility in Huntsville, Ala., using flight-like material for the sunshield, a full-scale test frame and hardware attachments. The test sunshield layer is made of Kapton, a very thin, high-performance plastic with a reflective metallic coating, similar to a Mylar balloon. Each sunshield layer is less than half the thickness of a sheet of paper. It is stitched together like a quilt from more than 52 individual pieces because manufacturers do not make Kapton sheets as big as a tennis court.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/sep/HQ_11-311_Sunshield.html

NASA’s Webb Telescope Completes Mirror-Coating Milestone

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has reached a major milestone in its development. The mirrors that will fly aboard the telescope have completed the coating process at Quantum Coating Inc. in Moorestown, N.J.

The telescope’s mirrors have been coated with a microscopically thin layer of gold, selected for its ability to properly reflect infrared light from the mirrors into the observatory’s science instruments. The coating allows the Webb telescope’s “infrared eyes” to observe extremely faint objects in infrared light. Webb’s mission is to observe the most distant objects in the universe.

“Finishing all mirror coatings on schedule is another major success story for the Webb telescope mirrors,” said Lee Feinberg, NASA Optical Telescope Element manager for the Webb telescope at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “These coatings easily meet their specifications, ensuring even more scientific discovery potential for the Webb telescope.”

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