Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope: A time of accomplishment and achievement

Manufacturing and difficult of all flight mirrors was finished in a final test at the X-ray and Calibration Facility at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. through these tests mirror segment were chilled to temperature similar to those Webb will see in space, around minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

It was the conclusion of work started in 2003. Heed lessons learned from the Hubble Space Telescope, the program adopted the plan of tackling the most difficult technical challenges first. That decision proved to be the right one. In June, all 18 flight main mirror segment, plus the secondary, tertiary and fine steering mirrors, were refined and coated soft beautiful surfaces that will enable Webb to image the most far-away galaxies.

Two of Webb's behind and leader structures were also completed. To assemble the flight telescope on the ground, a 139,000 pound structure will install the flight mirrors using an below track system supporting a robotic arm. The huge display place has been completed and assembled in the ultra-clean room used for telescope assembly at Goddard.

Also over was the pathfinder backplane, a full-scale engineering model of the middle section of the flight backplane. The backplane holds the mirror segment in place to form a single primary mirror. The full pathfinder constituent will consist of 12 of the 18 hexagonal cells (the center section of the primary mirror) of the telescope and contain a subset of two primary mirror segment assemblies, the secondary mirror, and the subsystem contain the tertiary and fine direction-finding mirrors. It will show integration and test actions that will be used on the flight reduce in size.

Webb's giant sunshield moved onward into a new testing phase last year, the last step before fabrication of the flight sunshield. Sunshield layer three became the first of five full-size flight-like layers stretched out in a fully replicated flight pattern. This enables engineers to make 3-D shape capacity that will tell them how the full-size sunshield layers will behave in space. Implementation this test is a critical step in the sunshield's progress and gives the engineers confidence and experience needed to manufacture the five flight layers.

An important sunshield use flight structure also completed fabrication in 2011. The space-qualified graphite composite tubes that will enable the sunshield to deploy in space have finished fabrication. The telescoping tube system was intended at Astro Aerospace, a industry unit of Northrop Grumman.

Capping the year's achievement, Webb's spacecraft also moved onward. The force system's 16 monopropellant rocket engine thrusters, which manage momentum and station-keeping on orbit, were upgraded to accept senior heat loading from the sunshield. Propulsion engineers also completed building four flight secondary combustion increased thrusters which maintain orbit after the launch vehicle finishes its burns. Engineers also established the flight software accountable for ground commands and science data liberation.

Successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope is the world's next-generation space observatory. It is the most influential space telescope ever built. Webb will observe the most remote objects in the universe, provide images of the very first galaxies ever formed and study planets around distant stars. The Webb reduce in dimension is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
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