Space

March 15, 2013

Northrop Grumman, ATK complete primary mirror backplane support wing assemblies for Webb telescope

Technicians complete the primary mirror backplane support structure wing assemblies for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope at ATK’s Space Components facility in Magna, Utah.

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – Northrop Grumman and teammate ATK have completed the fabrication of the primary mirror backplane support structure wing assemblies for 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 the Webb Telescope’s optics, sunshield and spacecraft.

The primary mirror backplane supports the telescope’s beryllium mirrors, instruments and other elements during ground test operations and launch. It holds the 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter primary mirror nearly motionless while the telescope is peering into deep space. The deployable wing sections complete the backplane structure while providing thermal stability. Their unique folding design permits the telescope to fit in the five-meter fairing of the launch vehicle.

“Our ATK teammates have met unprecedented thermal stability requirements,” said Charlie Atkinson, deputy Webb Optical Telescope Element manager for Northrop Grumman. “The team has done a commendable job of completing the PMBSS wing assemblies.”

Measuring approximately 24 by 21 feet, and weighing more than 2,000 pounds, the primary mirror backplane support structure ñ which includes the wing assemblies as well as the center section that ATK completed in February 2012 ñmust meet unprecedented thermal stability requirements. While the telescope is operating at a range of extremely cold temperatures, from -406 to -343 degrees Fahrenheit, the backplane must not vary more than 38 nanometers (approximately 1/1,000 the diameter of a human hair). For reference, if the mirror were enlarged to span from Los Angeles to New York City, the tolerance for error would be less than 1 inch.

The wing assemblies of the Webb Telescope’s primary mirror backplane support structure were designed and fabricated and will be tested at ATK facilities in Magna, Utah. ATK designed and built the 900 composite parts of the wing assembly using lightweight graphite materials and advanced fabrication techniques. The composite parts attach to precision metallic fittings that provide interfaces with the other elements of the observatory.

“The completion of the backplane wing assemblies continues to demonstrate state-of-the-art engineering and fabrication supporting this great NASA program,” said Bob Hellekson, ATK’s Webb Telescope program manager. “We are proud to be a partner in building this amazing telescope.”

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




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


 
 

 

Headlines March 27, 2015

News General Dynamics withdraws as T-100 prime contractor General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology has withdrawn itself as the prime contractor on the T-100, the offering for the T-X trainer replacement program based on the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 design.   Business SpaceX’s fight with U.S. Air Force called a clash of perceptions Billionaire Elon Musk’s...
 
 

News Briefs March 27, 2015

Contractor extradited from Iraq pleads guilty in bribes case A man extradited from Iraq in a military contract bribery case has pleaded guilty to three charges in an agreement with federal prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose has scheduled sentencing for July 1 for Metin Atilan. His attorney, Nick Gounaris, says the two sides agreed...
 
 

Ninth Boeing GPS IIF reaches orbit, sends first signals

Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites are steadily replenishing the orbiting constellation, continuing to improve reliability and accuracy for users around the world. The ninth GPS IIF reached orbit about three hours, 20 minutes after launching today aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and...
 

 

F-35 Lightning II costs drop, report shows

A recent account of F-35 Lightning II aircraft program costs shows decreases, the Air Force’s F-35 program executive officer told reporters in a media roundtable March 24, 2015. Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan, citing this year’s selected acquisition report on the aircraft, called the roundtable to clarify cost and performance facts. He also acknowledged the...
 
 
NG-growler2

Northrop Grumman delivers center/aft ‘shipset’ for first international EA-18G Growler

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman mechanics perform final quality inspections on the center/aft fuselage shipset produced by the company for the first Australian EA-18G Growler. The subassembly will be delivered to B...
 
 
Navy photograph by Monica McCoy

Navy conducts production acceptance test of Tomahawk missile

Navy photograph by Monica McCoy Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division team at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head prepare a Tomahawk missile for a functional ground test at the Large Motor Test Fa...
 




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>