Space

August 23, 2013

ATK delivers backbone of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

WEBatk-telescope
 

ATK has shipped the primary mirror backplane support structure for  NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to Marshall Space Flight Center, completing an important milestone for the most powerful space telescope ever to be built.

The highly engineered PMBSS is the backbone of the telescope, supporting the telescope’s beryllium mirrors, instruments and other elements. It also holds the 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter primary mirror nearly motionless while the telescope is peering into deep space. ATK built the PMBSS on time and within budget at its facility in Magna, Utah, under a contract with prime contractor Northrop Grumman.

“With this shipment, ATK has fulfilled a critical milestone for the program,” said Scott Texter, Webb Optical Telescope Element manager for Northrop Grumman.

Measuring approximately 24 feet tall by 19.5 feet wide by more than 11 feet deep when fully deployed, and weighing only 2,180 pounds, the PMBSS supports the mission payload and instruments weighing more than three times its own weight. The folding design of the PMBSS enables the telescope to fit inside the 15-foot-diameter fairing of the launch vehicle.

ATK designed, engineered and constructed more than 10,000 parts of the PMBSS using lightweight graphite materials, state-of-the-art material sciences and advanced fabrication techniques. The composite parts attach in many cases to precision metallic fittings, made of precision materials such as invar and titanium that provide interfaces with other elements of the observatory.

“ATK has enjoyed teaming with NASA and Northrop Grumman on the Webb Telescope program,” said David Shanahan, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Space Components division. “We are proud to know that the technologies and inventions we developed to enable this NASA flagship mission will benefit science and engineering for generations to come.”

The PMBSS will also meet unprecedented thermal stability requirements to minimize thermal distortion. While the telescope is operating at a range of extremely cold temperatures, from -406 to -343 degrees Fahrenheit, the backplane must not vary more than 38 nanometers (approximately 1/1,000th the diameter of a human hair). For reference, if the mirror were enlarged to span from Los Angeles to New York City, the tolerance for error would be less than 1 inch.

Upon arrival at Marshall Space Flight Center, the PMBSS will undergo extreme cryogenic thermal testing. The PMBSS will then undergo structural static testing at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., in early 2014 before NASA and Northrop Grumman ready the observatory for its 2018 launch.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. A joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb Telescope will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the first galaxies formed and see unexplored planets around distant stars.

 




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


 
 

 

Near Infrared Camera Integrated into space telescope

Lockheed Martin and the University of Arizona have delivered the primary imaging instrument of the James Webb Space Telescope to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The new Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, has been successfully integrated within the heart of the telescope, known as the Integrated Science Instrument Module. The integration completes the suite of...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie

Space superiority remains vital to national security

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie Gen. William Shelton reviews his notes before testifying April 3, 2014, in front of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on strategic forces, in Washington, D.C. Shelton is...
 
 

Fifth Boeing GPS IIF satellite joins Global Positioning System

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The accuracy of the Global Positioning System has been improved with the recent handover of a fifth Boeing GPS IIF satellite to the U.S. Air Force. The newest addition to the GPS constellation increases the precision of position, navigation and timing data sent to users around the world. The satellite was...
 

 
web_LM-AEHF

Fourth AEHF protected communications satellite begins integration months ahead of schedule

The fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite produced by Lockheed Martin is taking shape after early deliveries of its payload and propulsion core. AEHF-4, expected to launch in 2017, will enable the constellation to ...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph by Alex Evers

Northrop Grumman ships payload module two months early for AEHF satellite

Northrop Grumman photograph by Alex Evers Integration of the payload module for the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected communications satellite underway at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo B...
 
 

Boeing realigns engineering to enhance customer Support

Boeing announced April 10 it is centralizing customer support for in-service airplanes at its Boeing Commercial Airplanes Engineering Design Center in Southern California, as the company continues to focus on increasing competitiveness while enabling continued growth of the global airline industry. “We’re creating a single location for customer support at the Southern California des...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin