Taking COCOA cryo

Sep 28, 2012

(Phys.org)—Testing of the James Webb Space Telescope's Center of Curvature Optical Assembly, or COCOA, recently was completed in the X-ray and Cryogenic Test Facility at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The optical assembly was operated in a vacuum at both room temperature and cryogenic—or deep cold—temperatures to certify its performance before it is used to test the performance of Webb's 21.3 foot primary mirror. COCOA's operation and performance must be verified alone before it can be used to test Webb under conditions that the observatory will experience in space.

The Webb telescope includes 18 six-sided mirror segments, which work together to form one large, 21.3-foot mirror.

COCOA was built by ITT Exelis of Rochester, N.Y., and its subcontractor Micro Instruments in Rochester, N.Y.

The is the world's next-generation space observatory and successor to the . The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Webb telescope will provide images of the first galaxies ever formed, and will explore planets around distant stars. It is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the .

Explore further: NASA spacecraft prepares for March 12 launch to study earth's dynamic magnetic space environment

Related Stories

Recommended for you

'Bright spot' on Ceres has dimmer companion

14 hours ago

Dwarf planet Ceres continues to puzzle scientists as NASA's Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the object. The latest images from Dawn, taken nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers) ...

What is Mars made of?

20 hours ago

For thousands of years, human beings have stared up at the sky and wondered about the Red Planet. Easily seen from Earth with the naked eye, ancient astronomers have charted its course across the heavens ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.