Space & Technology

June 19, 2017
 

Webb Telescope set for testing in space simulation chamber

NASA photograph by Desiree Stover

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope sits in front of the door to Chamber A, a giant thermal vacuum chamber located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.  The telescope will soon be moved into the chamber, where it will spend a hot Houston summer undergoing tests at sub-freezing cryogenic temperatures.  The telescope will operate at an extremely cold 39 K (-234° C or -389° F) in space, so NASA is simulating those conditions on the ground, ensuring the optics and instruments will perform perfectly after launch.

In space, the telescope itself must be kept extremely cold, in order to be able to detect the infrared light from faint and very distant objects. To protect the telescope from external sources of light and heat (like the sun, Earth, and moon) as well as from heat emitted by the observatory itself, a five-layer, tennis court-sized sunshield acts like a parasol providing shade. The sunshield separates the observatory into a warm, sun-facing side (reaching temperatures close to 400 degrees Farenheit), and a cold side (185 degrees below zero) where the sunlight is blocked from interfering with the sensitive telescope instruments.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

For more information about the Webb telescope visit www.jwst.nasa.gov or www.nasa.gov/webb.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

NASA assists in efforts to contain California wildfires

NASA photograph Huge columns of smoke rise from California’s Mendocino Complex fire. The smoke that has risen and drifted now clouds the skies above the state. An effort by multiple NASA centers to assist with the California ...
 
 
Blue Origin photograph

NASA announces new partnerships to develop space exploration technologies

Blue Origin photograph Blue Origin is one of six companies selected for NASA’s Tipping Point solicitation. Pictured here, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifted off July 18 carrying five NASA-supported technologies to flig...
 
 
Marine Corps photograph by Eddie Young

Navy satellite system receives green light for expanded operational use

Marine Corps photograph by Eddie Young Marines from the 1st Marine Division test out the Mobile User Objective System at a Field User Evaluation in Camp Pendleton, California. MUOS is a satellite communication system that uses ...