Space

January 18, 2013

Ball Aerospace completes performance testing for James Webb Space Telescope aft optics subsystem

Ball Aerospace has completed all performance testing for the James Webb aft-optics subsystem.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has completed all performance testing for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope aft-optics subsystem (AOS) under contract to the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Since May of 2012, the AOS has undergone a series of tests including thermal and vibration, followed by cryogenic testing to demonstrate that it can withstand the rigorous vibration environment of the rocket launch and remain precisely aligned in order to function at extremely cold temperatures in space. The AOS will remain at Ball Aerospace to be used during integrated testing with the flight actuator drive unit and AOS source plate assembly. This AOS is the final optical subsystem of the James Webb Optical Telescope Element to complete integration and test activities at Ball Aerospace.

“Each optical element that Ball Aerospace is building for the Webb is extremely sophisticated and the successful completion of another milestone brings us one day closer to the launch of NASA’s next major space observatory,” said Ball Aerospace President and CEO David L. Taylor.

The AOS is a precision beryllium rectangular optical bench that houses the tertiary and the fine steering mirror installed at the center of Webb’s primary mirror. The AOS is surrounded by a shroud that eliminates stray light, and two large radiator panels that keep the assembly cold. This subsystem collects and focuses the light from the secondary mirror and feeds it into the science instruments.

Ball is the principal subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for the optical technology and lightweight mirror system for NASA’s Webb Telescope. In total, Ball has designed and delivered the Webb’s 18 beryllium primary mirror segments, secondary and tertiary mirrors, a fine steering mirror, and several engineering development units.

In September 2012, Ball began the process of shipping the finished Webb primary mirrors to Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The remaining mirrors will arrive at Goddard this year, awaiting telescope integration in 2015. The Webb is on track for an October 2018 liftoff.

The Webb telescope is critical for future infrared observations and will serve as the premier observatory of the next decade.




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


 
 

 

NASA Hubble instruments highlight new National Air and Space Museum exhibit

Two instruments that played critical roles in discoveries made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope now are on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. “Repairing Hubble” recognizes the 24th anniversary of Hubble’s launch into space aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. The exhibit features Hubble’s Corrective...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio

NASA satellites show drought may take toll on Congo rainforest

Image courtesy of NASA GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio In the Congo rainforest, a browning trend (brown) dominates smaller areas that show a greening trend (green) during April, May and June each year from 2000 to 2012. A ...
 
 

Second series of CASIS-sponsored research payloads launch to ISS

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is proud to announce several sponsored research payloads have launched to the International Space Station onboard the Space Exploration Technology Corporation’s Dragon cargo capsule. This marks the second series of investigations headed to the station that are sponsored by CASIS, the nonprofit responsible for managing research...
 

 

NASA selects commercial crew program manager

NASA has selected Kathy Lueders as program manager for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lueders, who has served as acting program manager since October 2013, will help keep the nation’s space program on course to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017 aboard spacecraft built by American companies. “This is a particularly critical time for...
 
 
NASA image by Kathy Reilly

NASA innovative advanced concept program seeks phase II proposals

NASA image by Kathy Reilly This artist’s concept conveys elements of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program – creative and forward-thinking approaches to aerospace architecture, mission, and system concep...
 
 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 




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>