'Giant erector set' supports Webb Telescope test component

Oct 17, 2012
Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

(Phys.org)—A new photograph taken inside the giant clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., shows what looks like a giant Erector Set supporting a test component of the James Webb Space Telescope.

The "giant Erector Set" is actually ground support equipment that includes the Webb telescope's Optical Telescope Simulator (OSIM). OSIM simulates a beam of light like the optics that will fly on the actual telescope. Because the real flight instruments will be used to test the real flight telescope, their alignment and performance first have to be verified by using the OSIM. Engineers are thoroughly checking out OSIM now in preparation for using it to test the flight science instruments later.

This photo shows the OSIM being loaded back into its stand after a successful test in the large called the Space Environment Simulator (SES), at Goddard. The structure that looks like a silver and black cube within the structure is a set of cold panels that surround OSIM's optics.

The OSIM itself will never fly in space, but it is an important part of the testing program to verify that the Webb telescope's and spectrographs will function as planned.

The most powerful space telescope ever built, Webb is the successor to NASA's . Webb's four instruments will reveal how the universe evolved from the Big Bang to the formation of our solar system. Webb is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the .

Explore further: Iridium flares captured in real time by astrophotographer

More information: For more information about the James Webb Space Telescope visit:

www.jwst.nasa.gov/
www.nasa.gov/webb

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The Webb Telescope's 'Golden Spider'

Aug 24, 2012

What looks like a giant golden spider weaving a web of cables and cords, is actually ground support equipment, including the Optical Telescope Simulator (OSIM), for the James Webb Space Telescope. OSIM's ...

Scanning Webb's surrogate eye

Jul 06, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Engineer Erin Wilson adds aluminum tape to electrical cables to protect them from the cold during environmental testing of special optical equipment. These tests will verify the alignment of ...

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 ...

Webb Telescope's 'wormholes' in the clean room

Oct 05, 2012

(Phys.org)—This photo gives a "worms eye" view of a robot arm holding a surrogate or simulated mirror segment (black hexagonal shape) for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. The arm is placing the surrogate ...

James Webb space telescope ISIM on 'spin cycle'

May 30, 2011

Prior to taking a new telescope into space, engineers must put the spacecraft and its instruments through a "spin cycle" test for durability to ensure they'll still work after experiencing the forces of a ...

Recommended for you

Iridium flares captured in real time by astrophotographer

7 hours ago

There are so many fun sights to see in the sky that are pure astronomical magic. And then there are the spectacular human-created sights. One of those sights is watching satellites from the Iridium constellation ...

Is Phobos doomed?

8 hours ago

"All these worlds are yours except Europa, attempt no landing there."

Espresso in space

10 hours ago

Espresso-loving astronauts, rejoice! You may soon be able to enjoy your beloved beverage in space, thanks to a new cup designed specifically to defy the low-gravity environments encountered aboard the International ...

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.