Space

April 9, 2014

Near Infrared Camera Integrated into space telescope

Lockheed Martin and the University of Arizona have delivered the primary imaging instrument of the James Webb Space Telescope to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The new Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, has been successfully integrated within the heart of the telescope, known as the Integrated Science Instrument Module. The integration completes the suite of four instruments that together will explore the mysteries of the deep universe upon launch in 2018.

NIRCam will function as the central imaging component of JWST. Designated one of the NASA’s three highest mission priorities, the Webb telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

NIRCam was designed, built, and tested by a University of Arizona / Lockheed Martin team at the company’s Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif., under the leadership of Principal Investigator Marcia Rieke, a Regents’ Professor at the Arizona Department of Astronomy/Steward Observatory. Lockheed Martin is responsible for the optical, mechanical, structural, thermal and electronic precision mechanisms and the control software of NIRCam, while its advanced infrared detector arrays come from Teledyne Imaging Systems.

“Integration of NIRCam into ISIM is a major step forward in the progress of the Webb telescope,” said Jeff Vanden Beukel, Lockheed Martin NIRCam program director. “Now, NIRCam and the other instruments will be tested to prove their ability to function as a unit.”

As the space telescope’s prime camera, NIRCam will make JWST the most powerful space telescope ever built, enabling it to peer deeper into space and further back in time than any other instrument before. With its 6.5-meter (21-foot) mirror, JWST will allow observation of the most distant objects in the universe.

“The instrument operates out to wavelengths about ten times that of visible light, letting it search for the first galaxies. It is the cosmic redshift that has moved the outputs of these ‘first light’ sources into the infrared where NIRCam operates. We will survey selected regions on the sky to find candidates; the other instruments on JWST can then probe these objects in detail to test if they really are that young,” Rieke explained. “NIRCam can also peer through the clouds of gas and dust that hide the first stages when stars and planets are born and will provide insights into how planetary systems form and evolve around distant stars.”

NIRCam is comprised of many cutting-edge technologies, such as the infrared detector arrays themselves, a complex optical system based on lenses rather than the mirrors used in most infrared instruments, and devices to measure the optical performance of the JWST telescope and allow adjustments to keep it operating correctly.

Upon launch, JWST will be operated as an observatory open by competitive proposal to astronomers worldwide. The astronomy community is eagerly anticipating data from the mission, which is not only much larger than Hubble but covers the longer-wavelength infrared spectral range with unprecedented capabilities.




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


 
 

 

Air Force launches hush-hush mini-shuttle into space

A mysterious space plane rocketed into orbit May 20, carrying no crew but a full load of technology experiments. The Air Force launched its unmanned mini-shuttle late morning, May 20. An Atlas V rocket lifted it up and out over the Atlantic. This is the fourth flight for the military research program, which is shrouded...
 
 
NG-people

Northrop Grumman appoints VP, program manager ISR division

Northrop Grumman announced it has appointed Steve Lunny, vice president and program manager for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division within the company’s Information Systems sector. Lunny will report...
 
 
af-medal

American Fighter Aces receive Congressional Gold Medal

Leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces Association May 20 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Emancipation Hall. The Congressional Gold Medal...
 

 

HELLADS laser completes development

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. announced May 21 that the High-Energy Liquid Laser completed the U.S. government acceptance test procedure and is now being shipped to the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. At WSMR, the laser will undergo an extensive series of live fire tests against a number of military targets.  GAASI is a leading...
 
 
Korea-MIA

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced May 22 that the remains of a U.S. soldier missing from the Korean War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors, a...
 
 

Air Force releases Strategic Master Plan

The Air Force officially released the Strategic Master Plan May 21, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades. The SMP builds on the strategic imperatives and vectors described in the capstone document, America’s Air Force: A Call...
 




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>