Published On: Fri, Feb 5th, 2016

Scientists Complete Primary Mirror for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Inside a vast purify room during NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland a James Webb Space Telescope group used a robotic am to implement a final of a telescope’s 18 mirrors onto a telescope structure.

Engineers have commissioned a 18th and final primary counterpart shred on what will be a biggest and many absolute space telescope ever launched. The final counterpart designation outlines an critical miracle in a public of a James Webb Space Telescope.

“Scientists and engineers have been operative tirelessly to implement these incredible, scarcely ideal mirrors that will concentration light from formerly dark realms of heavenly atmospheres, star combining regions and a really beginnings of a Universe,” pronounced John Grunsfeld, associate executive for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “With a mirrors finally complete, we are one step closer to a brazen observations that will uncover a mysteries of a Universe.”

Using a robotic arm suggestive of a scratch machine, a group meticulously commissioned all of Webb’s primary counterpart segments onto a telescope structure. Each of a hexagonal-shaped counterpart segments measures only over 4.2 feet (1.3 meters) opposite — about a distance of a coffee list — and weighs approximately 88 pounds (40 kilograms). Once in space and entirely deployed, a 18 primary counterpart segments will work together as one vast 21.3-foot hole (6.5-meter) mirror.

“Completing a public of a primary counterpart is a really poignant miracle and a perfection of over a decade of design, manufacturing, contrast and now public of a primary counterpart system,” pronounced Lee Feinberg, visual telescope component manager during Goddard. “There is a outrageous group opposite a nation who contributed to this achievement.”

While a primary counterpart designation might be finished on a tennis court-sized infrared observatory, there still is many work to be done.

“Now that a counterpart is complete, we demeanour brazen to installing a other optics and conducting tests on all a components to make certain a telescope can withstand a rocket launch,” pronounced Bill Ochs, James Webb Space Telescope plan manager. “This is a good approach to start 2016!”

The mirrors were built by Ball Aerospace Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. Ball is a principal subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for a visual record and visual complement design. The designation of a mirrors onto a telescope structure is achieved by Harris Corporation, a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman. Harris Corporation leads arrangement and contrast for a telescope.

“The Harris group will be installing a abaft optics public and a delegate counterpart in sequence to finish a tangible telescope,” pronounced Gary Matthews, executive of Universe Exploration during Harris Corporation. “The heart of a telescope, a Integrated Science Instrument Module, will afterwards be integrated into a telescope. After acoustic, vibration, and other tests during Goddard, we will boat a complement down to Johnson Space Center in Houston for an complete cryogenic visual exam to safeguard all is operative properly.”

The James Webb Space Telescope is a systematic inheritor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It will be a many absolute space telescope ever built. Webb will investigate many phases in a story of a universe, including a arrangement of solar systems able of ancillary life on planets identical to Earth, as good as a expansion of a possess solar system. It’s targeted to launch from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 rocket in 2018. Webb is an general plan led by NASA with a partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and a Canadian Space Agency.

To watch a Webb telescope being built during Goddard, revisit a “Webb-cam” page at: http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/webcam.html

Source: Felicia Chou, NASA

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