Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First Two Webb Telescope Flight Mirrors Delivered to NASA

25.09.2012
The first two of the 18 primary mirrors to fly aboard NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope arrived at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The mirrors are going through receiving and inspection and will then be stored in the Goddard cleanroom until engineers are ready to assemble them onto the telescope's backplane structure that will support them.


Technicians and scientists check out one of the Webb telescope's first two flight mirrors in the clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Ball Aerospace, Boulder, Colo., under contract to Northrop Grumman, is responsible for the Webb’s optical technology and lightweight mirror system. On September 17, 2012, Ball Aerospace shipped the first two mirrors in custom containers designed specifically for the multiple trips the mirrors made through eight U.S. states while completing their manufacturing. The remaining 16 mirrors will make their way from Ball Aerospace to Goddard over the next 12 months as they await telescope integration in 2015.

"These first two completed flight mirror assemblies arriving at Goddard are an important first step leading towards the integration of the mirrors onto the flight structure," said Lee Feinberg, NASA Optical Telescope Element Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "These delivered flight mirrors meet their requirements, which is great news for Webb telescope being able to fulfill its scientific potential."

One of the Webb’s science goals is to look back through time to when galaxies were young. To see such far-off and faint objects, Webb needs a large mirror. A telescope’s sensitivity, or how much detail it can see, is directly related to the size of the mirror area that collects light from the objects being observed. A larger area collects more light, just like a larger bucket collects more water in a rain shower than a small one.

This photo shows one of the two mirrors, while the other awaits opening in its shipping canister. The mirrors have arrived at their new home at NASA, where they will be residing at the giant cleanroom at Goddard for a while as technicians check them out. Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Webb’s scientists and engineers determined that a primary mirror 6.5 meters (21 feet 4 inches) across is what was needed to measure the light from these distant galaxies. Each of the 18 hexagonal-shaped mirror assemblies that make up the primary mirror measures more than 1.3 meters (4.2 feet) across, and weighs approximately 40 kilograms, or 88 pounds.

The Webb will be the first space astronomy observatory to use an actively-controlled, segmented mirror. The Webb is critical for future infrared observations. The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of stellar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. It is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Lynn Chandler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/webb-tech-mirrors-delivered.html

Further reports about: AEROSPACE Big Bang Goddard Space Flight Center NASA Space Telescope giant cleanroom

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A tale of two pulsars' tails: Plumes offer geometry lessons to astronomers
18.01.2017 | Penn State

nachricht Studying fundamental particles in materials
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>