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.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Joe Davila

Boeing, Air Force demonstrate Minuteman III readiness in flight test

Air Force photograph by Joe Davila Boeing supported the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2014. Boeing supported the U.S. Air Force’s succ...
 
 

Pentagon going to court for refusing to release Sikorsky data

PETALUMA, Calif. – The Pentagon is refusing to release any data on any prime contractors participating in the 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program. The American Small Business League launched a program in 2010 to expose the fraud and abuse against small businesses the CSPTP had allowed. As a test the ASBL requested the most...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Raytheon Griffin C flight tests demonstrate in-flight retargeting capability

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for low-rate initial production of the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR). G/ATOR is the first ground-based multi-mi...
 

 
insitu-scan-eagle1

Insitu announces ScanEagle 2 – the next generation of ScanEagle platform

  From its booth at the Euronaval Exhibition and Conference in Paris, Insitu Oct. 29 announced ScanEagle 2, the next generation of its revolutionary ScanEagle platform. Leveraging lessons learned from more than 800,000 ope...
 
 

DOD, Lockheed Martin announce principle agreement F-35 purchase

The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin have reached an agreement in principle for the production of 43 F-35 Lightning II aircraft.  Officials anticipate the Low-Rate Initial Production lot 8 (LRIP 8) contract to be finalized in the coming weeks.  The contract is for fiscal year 2014 with deliveries beginning in 2016. Cost details...
 
 

Boeing delivers Emirates’ 100th 777-300ER

Boeing and Emirates Airline are celebrating the delivery of the airline’s 100th 777-300ER (Extended Range), marking another milestone in a partnership that began over two decades ago when the Dubai-based airline ordered its first 777. With this delivery, Emirates will have 142 777s in operation and is the only airline in the world to operate...
 




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>