Business

August 23, 2013

ATK delivers backbone of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

atk-telescope
 

ATK has shipped the primary mirror backplane support structure for  NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to Marshall Space Flight Center, completing an important milestone for the most powerful space telescope ever to be built.

The highly engineered PMBSS is the backbone of the telescope, supporting the telescope’s beryllium mirrors, instruments and other elements. It also holds the 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter primary mirror nearly motionless while the telescope is peering into deep space. ATK built the PMBSS on time and within budget at its facility in Magna, Utah, under a contract with prime contractor Northrop Grumman.

“With this shipment, ATK has fulfilled a critical milestone for the program,” said Scott Texter, Webb Optical Telescope Element manager for Northrop Grumman.

Measuring approximately 24 feet tall by 19.5 feet wide by more than 11 feet deep when fully deployed, and weighing only 2,180 pounds, the PMBSS supports the mission payload and instruments weighing more than three times its own weight. The folding design of the PMBSS enables the telescope to fit inside the 15-foot-diameter fairing of the launch vehicle.

ATK designed, engineered and constructed more than 10,000 parts of the PMBSS using lightweight graphite materials, state-of-the-art material sciences and advanced fabrication techniques. The composite parts attach in many cases to precision metallic fittings, made of precision materials such as invar and titanium that provide interfaces with other elements of the observatory.

“ATK has enjoyed teaming with NASA and Northrop Grumman on the Webb Telescope program,” said David Shanahan, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Space Components division. “We are proud to know that the technologies and inventions we developed to enable this NASA flagship mission will benefit science and engineering for generations to come.”

The PMBSS will also meet unprecedented thermal stability requirements to minimize thermal distortion. 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 1/1,000th 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.

Upon arrival at Marshall Space Flight Center, the PMBSS will undergo extreme cryogenic thermal testing. The PMBSS will then undergo structural static testing at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., in early 2014 before NASA and Northrop Grumman ready the observatory for its 2018 launch.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. A joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, 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.

 




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


 
 

 

Boeing, Royal Australian Air Force test extended range weapon

The Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range demonstrated significant range increase while maintaining its expected accuracy during flight testing conducted by Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force. The testing centered on a new wing kit that, when used in conjunction with the weaponís guidance kit, increases the bomb’s range from approximately 15 miles...
 
 

DRS Technologies to provide comm systems for Royal New Zealand Navy frigates

DRS Technologies Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced Feb. 25 that its Canadian subsidiary will be providing tactical integrated communications systems to the New Zealand Ministry of Defense for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s ANZAC-class frigates. This subcontract was awarded to DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. in support of a communications modernization contract from Lockheed Martin Canada...
 
 

Northrop Grumman LITENING achieves two million operating hour milestone

In the life cycle of every military system, some milestones stand out as signature achievements. One million operating hours is one of them – and Northrop Grumman’s fielded AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING pods have hit that number for the second time. “This is a significant milestone for the LITENING program and our team is proud to be...
 

 

Boeing to intensify technical career development for engineering workforce

Boeing Feb. 25 is implementing a plan to renew its focus on the companyís engineers worldwide by dedicating the first two of new Engineering Career Development Centers that would serve as training grounds for its technical workforce. Over the next year, leading up to Boeingís 100-year anniversary in 2016, the company will open a dozen...
 
 
Raytheon-AMRAAM

Raytheon unveils extended range AMRAAM

Raytheon has begun development on an extended range variant of the combat-proven Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile. Designed specifically for ground-based air defense, AMRAAM-ER will enable intercepts at longer range and...
 
 

Upgrades boost ballistic missile defense radar’s performance during missile raid

The U.S. and its friends and allies will soon have improved defenses against ballistic missile raids – large quantities of simultaneously impacting ballistic missiles. Raytheon has upgraded the computer processor of the AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar, enabling the system to both perform better during raids and to more quickly and accurately discriminate between a...
 




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>