Space

May 8, 2012

Northrop Grumman completes flight hardware for tower supporting space telescope mirrors, science instruments

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – Northrop Grumman has completed the flight composite components for the structure that connects the Optical Telescope Element to the spacecraft on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

Northrop Grumman is under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. For the design and development of Webb’s sunshield, telescope and spacecraft.

The flight structure known as the Deployable Tower Assembly is designed by Northrop Grumman’s business unit Astro Aerospace and is a telescoping tower primarily comprised of composite components fabricated by Webb teammate ATK. The DTA deploys after launch, raising the cold telescope off the warm spacecraft bus, and is a key component of JWST’s passive cooling architecture. Passively cooling the telescope to cryogenic temperatures avoids using limited-life cryogenic liquid coolants. Made of lightweight graphite composite material chosen for its ability to thermally insulate the cold telescope from the hot spacecraft, the tower assembly extends to nearly twice its stowed height, from 5.6 feet to 9.6 feet once it is deployed.

“ATK’s completion of the deployable tower assembly composite components marks another flight hardware milestone in the fabrication of one of the most significant structures that supports the telescope’s optical train,” said Scott Texter, Webb Optical Telescope Element manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “These parts were very difficult to fabricate, involving some complex geometries, and ATK did a commendable job.”

The tower includes deployable harness trays for the electronics and refrigerant cables that run to the cryocooler, which keeps the Mid-Infrared Instrument at ultra cold temperatures. The 19.6 feet of electronics cables are attached to a Z-folded cable-tray structure that unfolds. The cryocooler line is a high-tech “slinky” that uncoils as the DTA extends, via a complex drive mechanism inside the tubes that pushes them apart.

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

For more information about the Webb telescope, visit www.jwst.nasa.gov.

 




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


 
 

 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

NASA partners with leading technology innovators to enable future exploration

Recognizing that technology drives exploration, NASA has selected four teams of agency technologists for participation in the Early Career Initiative pilot program. The program encourages creativity and innovation among early career NASA technologists by engaging them in hands-on technology development opportunities needed for future missions. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate c...
 
 

New commercial rocket descent data may help NASA with future Mars landings

NASA successfully captured thermal images of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The data from these thermal images may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars. “Because the technologies required to land large payloads on Mars...
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI

NASA’s Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy through cosmic magnifying glass

Image courtesy of NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making these otherwise unseen background objects appear larger a...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA TV to air Russian spacewalk from International Space Station

NASA photograph Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency will don Orlan spacesuits and step outside the International Space Station Oct. 22, to perform wor...
 
 
Ball Aerospace photograph

Ball Aerospace green propellant infusion mission to host three DOD space experiments

Ball Aerospace photograph The NASA and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) will fly three Defense Department experimental hosted payloads when it launches in 2016. The NASA and Ball ...
 




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>