Business

July 26, 2013

Lockheed Martin ships NIRCam for Webb telescope to NASA

The Near-Infrared Camera for NASA’s James Webb Space Telewcope is seen in a cleanroom at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif., where it was designed and built.

 
Lockheed Martin, under a contract from the University of Arizona, has completed assembly and testing of the Near Infrared Camera and has shipped the instrument to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

NIRCam is the prime near-infrared imaging instrument for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The most powerful space telescope ever built, JWST will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the very first galaxies ever formed, provide insight to how solar systems evolve and help explore planets around distant stars. The Webb telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency.

The University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin are responsible for the NIRCam instrument design (Optical, Mechanical, Structural, Thermal, Electronic, Precision Mechanisms and Control Software) as well as the instrument control and focal plane electronics and software.  In addition to Lockheed Martin and the University of Arizona, the NIRCam team comprises Teledyne Imaging Sensors of Camarillo, Calif. and a team of science co-investigators.

“It is very satisfying to have completed assembly and testing of this magnificent astrophysical instrument,” said Jeff Vanden Beukel, Lockheed Martin NIRCam program director at the Advanced Technology Center. “We all feel privileged to have worked on this mission and look forward to the day when our engineering and manufacturing efforts will help produce discoveries yielding a greater understanding of the Universe.”

“As we view the Universe with more powerful tools, not only do we confirm or overturn current concepts, but we always learn new and exciting things,” said Dr. Marcia Rieke of the University of Arizona and NIRCam principal investigator. “I couldn’t be happier that we’ve reached this milestone. I’m certain that all of the hard work and terrific collaboration of the NIRCam team will lead to a very big payoff not too far down the line.”

NIRCam will detect light from the earliest stars and galaxies in the process of formation; young stars in the Milky Way; physical and chemical properties of planets orbiting other stars; and objects within our Solar System. The camera is equipped with coronagraphs, (instruments that allow astronomers to take pictures of very faint objects around a central bright object, like planets around distant stars.) The NIRCam coronagraphs work by blocking a brighter object’s light, making it possible to view the dimmer object nearby – just as shielding the sun from your eyes with your hand allows you to focus on the view in front of you. Astronomers hope to determine the characteristics of planets orbiting nearby stars. NIRCam is not only a science camera, but also the wavefront sensor responsible for keeping the telescope mirrors in phase and focused for all the other science instruments.

The NIRCam instrument consists of two identical optical imaging modules and contains focal plane assemblies (FPA) assembled at the University of Arizona using detectors provided by Teledyne. The FPA hardware consists of 40 million pixels, and is designed for cryogenic operation at 35 Kelvin, or approximately -400 degrees Fahrenheit. The FPA hardware requires regulated power, output data synchronization, temperature control and operational mode controls as well as image data conditioning, amplification and digitization. The NIRCam focal plane electronics (FPE) and its associated software will provide these functions. The FPE hardware and software also convey the image data to the JWST integrated science instrument module command and data handling computer.

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center manages the JWST project. Principal Investigators under contract to NASA, ESA, and CSA are developing scientific instruments for the observatory. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., is developing the ground system for the mission and will be responsible for observatory operations and science program management.

NIRCam is one of the scientific instruments managed by Lockheed Martin’s Civil Space line of business. The instrument was designed and built at the ATC in Palo Alto, Calif. The ATC is the research and development organization of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC). LMSSC, a major operating unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, designs and develops, tests, manufactures and operates a full spectrum of advanced-technology systems for national security and military, civil government and commercial customers. Chief products include human space flight systems; a full range of remote sensing, navigation, meteorological and communications satellites and instruments; space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft; laser radar; ballistic missiles; missile defense systems; and nanotechnology research and development.

 




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


 
 

 

Headlines August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India – French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year – In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




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>