Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Testing time for instrument on Hubble’s successor

07.12.2007
A significant milestone for the Hubble Space Telescope successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is on course to be reached before Christmas with the testing of the verification model of the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

MIRI is one of four sophisticated instruments onboard which will study the early universe and properties of materials forming around new born stars in unprecedented detail. It will also be able to image directly massive planets orbiting other stars.

At the heart of the JWST observatory is a large cold telescope whose primary mirror measures 6.5 metres in diameter compared to 2.4 metres for Hubble, providing an enormous increase in capability to investigate the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars and planetary systems. Due for launch in 2013, JWST, which is a joint cooperative mission between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), is optimised to operate over a wide range of infrared wavelengths.

MIRI is the first of the JWST instruments to reach this phase of cryogenic performance testing and marks a significant milestone for this international team, which is funded in the UK by the Science and Technology Facilities Council [STFC] and spread across STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory [RAL], plus team members at Astrium Ltd, and the universities of Leicester and Cardiff .

Speaking at the 3rd Appleton Space Conference today (6th December 2007) European Consortium Lead for MIRI, Dr Gillian Wright MBE from the UK ATC in Edinburgh said, “It is extremely exciting, after working on the project since 1998, to begin to test a complete instrument. This will provide scientists with real data which they can use to understand the best ways of making discoveries with the instrument.”

The testing is being undertaken at the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire where all MIRI’s subsystems from collaborators in Europe and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab are integrated and tested in full.

This involves thermal and electromagnetic calibration testing along with scientific and environmental testing.

Dr Tanya Lim, who leads the 25 people strong international MIRI testing team explains, “Given the international nature of this project it is essential to bring together both instrument and test equipment components from around the world to ensure that they work together.”

She adds, “We will also be using the instrument flight software which will need to work with the spacecraft and ground software systems in order to command the instrument, simulate telemetry to the ground and generate images from the test environment.”

The MIRI testing team are working around the clock until the completion of the first tests just before Christmas. Paul Eccleston, MIRI Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) Lead adds, “MIRI is the largest individual flight instrument that has been built at RAL, and has presented unusual challenges particularly with regard to cooling and thermal control. The instrument will operate at temperatures much lower than the rest of the spacecraft. As a result, the first two weeks of testing involved cooling the instrument down to its operational temperature of -267ºC, only 6.2K above absolute zero.”

Images of MIRI prior to testing are available from Gill Ormrod – contact details below. Images of JWST are available on the NASA website:

http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/images.html

Contacts
Gill Ormrod – Science and Technology Facilities Council Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 1793 442012
Email: gill.ormrod@stfc.ac.uk
Rob Gutro, Goddard Space Flight Center
Tel: 1-301-286-4044
Email: Robert.J.Gutro@nasa.gov
Franco Bonacina – ESA Press relations
Tel: +33 (0) 1 5369 7155. Email: Franco.Bonacina1@esa.int
Science contacts
Dr Gillian Wright, MBE – JWST MIRI European Consortium Principal Investigator,
UK ATC, Edinburgh
Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 8248.
Mobile: Tel: +44 791 939 8611
Email: gsw@roe.ac.uk
Paul Eccleston, Assembly, Integration and Test Lead Engineer, STFC RAL
Tel +44 (0) 1235 446366
Email: P.Eccleston@rl.ac.uk
Dr Tanya Lim – MIRI Test Team Lead and Calibration Scientist, STFC RAL
Tel +44 (0) 1235 445045
Email: T.Lim@rl.ac.uk
John Thatcher – European Consortium Project Manager, Astrium Ltd
Tel +44 (0) 1438 773 599
Email : J.Thatcher@astrium.eads.net
John Pye – University of Leicester
Tel +44 (0) 116 252 3552
Email: pye@star.le.ac.uk
Dr Peter Hargrave - University of Cardiff
Tel +44 (0) 2920876682
Email : p.hargrave@astro.cf.ac.uk

Gill Ormrod | alfa
Further information:
http://www.stfc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Searching for disappeared anti-matter: A successful start to measurements with Belle II
26.03.2019 | Max Planck Institute for Physics

nachricht Extremely accurate measurements of atom states for quantum computing
26.03.2019 | Penn State

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: New gene potentially involved in metastasis identified

Gene named after Roman goddess Minerva as immune cells get stuck in the fruit fly’s head

Cancers that display a specific combination of sugars, called T-antigen, are more likely to spread through the body and kill a patient. However, what regulates...

Im Focus: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Searching for disappeared anti-matter: A successful start to measurements with Belle II

26.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Extremely accurate measurements of atom states for quantum computing

26.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Listening to the quantum vacuum

26.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>