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.


 
 

 

Headlines March 4, 2015

News: Pentagon: Another BRAC will save money - Pentagon planners have a new pitch to lawmakers skeptical of a fresh round of base closings: We promise we’ll save money this time.   Business: China’s new C919 will begin test flights this year - China’s new superjet will take to the skies for the first time later this...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham

World War II pilot reunited with P-47

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham Retired Air National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Hertel, laughs while under the wing of a P-47 Thunderbolt during the Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course Feb. 2...
 
 

News Briefs March 4, 2015

General: 8,500 Islamic State fighters killed in Iraq so far The U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq has killed more than 8,500 Islamic State fighters since its bombing campaign began in August, the top general overseeing the coalition said March 3. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said the Islamic State, which...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Turning up the heat

Lockheed Martin photograph Lockheed Martin ATHENA laser weapon system defeats a truck target by disabling the engine, demonstrating its military effectiveness against enemy ground vehicles. Latest evolution of Lockheed Martin l...
 
 

USO Visit

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara Actor Vince Vaughn speaks with Edwards Airmen and 412th Security Forces Squadron members at the base library before introducing an advance screening of his new movie, “Unfinished Business,” at the base theater Feb. 28.
 
 

Sikorsky S-97 RAIDERô team begins final assembly of second aircraft

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., announced March 4 the start of final assembly of the second S-97 RAIDERô helicopter at the company’s Development Flight Center. Along with a team of industry suppliers, Sikorsky is developing two RAIDERô prototypes to demonstrate the revolutionary new capabilities in improved maneuverability and flight speed. The...
 




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>