'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: Space sex geckos at risk as Russia loses control of satellite

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

Video: A dizzying view of the Earth from space

3 hours ago

We've got vertigo watching this video, but in a good way! This is a sped-up view of Earth from the International Space Station from the Cupola, a wraparound window that is usually used for cargo ship berthings ...

NEOWISE spots a comet that looked like an asteroid

3 hours ago

Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) has been observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft just one day after passing through its closest approach to the sun. The comet ...

What the UK Space Agency can teach Australia

3 hours ago

Australia has had an active civil space program since 1947 but has much to learn if it is to capture a bigger share of growing billion dollar global space industry. ...

Discover the "X-factor" of NASA's Webb telescope

4 hours ago

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray observatory have something in common: a huge test chamber used to simulate the hazards of space and the distant glow of starlight. Viewers can learn about ...

User comments : 0