Space

September 19, 2012

Ball Aerospace ships first James Webb Space Telescope mirrors to NASA


Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. began the process of shipping the finished NASA James Webb Space Telescope mirrors to Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Sept. 14, 2012.

Ball Aerospace, under contract to Northrop Grumman, is responsible for the Webb’s optical technology and lightweight mirror system. Two of the 18 beryllium primary mirror segments that comprise NASA’s sophisticated Webb Telescope were shipped from Boulder in custom containers designed specifically for the multiple trips the mirrors made through eight U.S. states while completing their manufacturing. The remaining 16 mirrors will make their way from Boulder to Goddard over the next 12 months as they await telescope integration in 2015. The Webb is on track for an October 2018 liftoff.

“Ball and its subcontractors have spent eight years tackling the rigorous requirements associated with JWST’s optical design,” said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace.”We are very proud to have answered the challenge posed by James Webb and look forward to this ground-breaking NASA science mission.”

The Webb Telescope will be the first civilian space-based observatory to use an actively controlled, segmented mirror architecture. Each of the 18 hexagonal-shaped mirror assemblies that make up the 21.3-foot (6.5 m) primary mirror measures more than 1.3 meters across, and weighs approximately 40 kilograms, or 88 pounds, after light-weighting.

The Webb telescope is critical for future infrared observations. The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of stellar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

The custom shipping containers for the mirrors are designed to maintain a consistent environment during travel between facilities. Each container is hermetically sealed to handle atmospheric pressure changes when the mirrors are shipped from high elevations like Boulder to other locations at or near sea level such as Greenbelt, Maryland.

In addition to the Webb Telescope, Ball Aerospace has played a significant role in astrophysics and planetary missions including Kepler, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, the Cosmic Background Explorer, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the upcoming Sentinel Mission.




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


 
 

 
Images courtesy of NASA/JHU-APL/SwRI

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft stays course to Pluto

Images courtesy of NASA/JHU-APL/SwRI These images show the difference between two sets of 48 combined 10-second exposures with New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera, taken at 8:40 UTC and 10:25 UTC...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Fourth Lockheed Martin-built MUOS secure comm satellite shipped

Lockheed Martin photograph On June 28, MUOS-4, the next satellite scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System secure communications network, shipped to Cape Canaveral from Lockheed Martin’s satellite manu...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA/CXC/U. Wisconsin/S. Heinz

NASA’s Chandra captures x-ray echoes pinpointing distant neutron star

Photograph courtesy of NASA/CXC/U. Wisconsin/S. Heinz A light echo in X-rays detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided a rare opportunity to precisely measure the distance to an object on the other side of the...
 

 

Veteran NASA spacecraft nears 60,000th lap around Mars

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft will reach a major milestone June 23, when it completes its 60,000th orbit since arriving at the Red Planet in 2001. Named after the bestselling novel “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke, Odyssey began orbiting Mars almost 14 years ago, on Oct. 23, 2001. On Dec. 15, 2010, it...
 
 
nasa-study

NASA selects six wild ideas in aviation for further study

NASA has selected six proposals to study transformative ideas that might expand what’s possible in aviation, shifting the boundary between fantastic and futuristic. During a day-long meeting in April, 17 teams pitched the...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA signs agreement with Space Florida to operate historic landing facility

NASA photograph This aerial photo of the runway at the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility looks north. Longer and wider than most commercial runways, it is 15,000 feet long, with 1,000-foot paved overruns on each end, and 300 feet wi...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>