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.


 
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

NASA spacecraft nears historic dwarf planet arrival

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA NASA’s Dawn spacecraft took these images of dwarf planet Ceres from about 25,000 miles away Feb. 25, 2015. Ceres appears half in shadow because of the current position o...
 
 

Northrop Grumman’s AstroMesh reflector successfully deploys for NASA’s SMAP satellite

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully deployed the mesh reflector and boom aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft, a key milestone on its mission to provide global measurements of soil moisture. Launched Jan. 31, SMAP represents the future of Earth Science by helping researchers better understand our planet. SMAP’s unmatched data capabilities are enabled...
 
 
NASA photograph by Brian Tietz

NASA offers space tech grants to early career university faculty

NASA photograph by Brian Tietz Tensegrity research is able to simulate multiple forms of locomotion. In this image, a prototype tensegrity robot reproduces forward crawling motion. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Director...
 

 

NASA releases first global rainfall, snowfall map from new mission

Like a lead violin tuning an orchestra, the GPM Core Observatory – launched one year ago on Feb. 27, 2014, as a collaboration between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – acts as the standard to unify precipitation measurements from a network of 12 satellites. The result is NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM...
 
 

New NASA Earth Science Missions expand view of our home planet

Four new NASA Earth-observing missions are collecting data from space with a fifth newly in orbit ñ after the busiest year of NASA Earth science launches in more than a decade. On Feb. 27, 2014, NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from...
 
 

NASA, ESA telescopes give shape to furious black hole winds

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton telescope are showing that fierce winds from a supermassive black hole blow outward in all directions – a phenomenon that had been suspected, but difficult to prove until now. This discovery has given astronomers their first opportunity to measure the strength of these...
 




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>