NASA's Webb Telescope components meet 'Big Red'

Feb 27, 2013
Credit: NASA

(Phys.org)—"Big Red" isn't a golden retriever or a NASA engineer, it's the nickname for a small chamber that helps ensure equipment can withstand very cold temperatures that would be experienced in space.

This photo shows engineers in a clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., placing the MCA (monitor and calibration assembly) into Big Red. In the photo, the MCA is the object under the silver-colored blanketing in Big Red.

The MCA is a key piece of the larger Optical Telescope Element (OTE) Simulator or OSIM. The OSIM simulates the 's optics for the purposes of testing the science instruments that will fly on the observatory. The OSIM itself will never fly into space, but it is a vital part of the testing program to verify that the and spectrographs will function as planned. The actual assembly, known as the Optical Telescope Element or OTE, is the eye of the Webb . The OTE will gather the light coming from space and provide it to the Webb's science instruments. Webb needs a large mirror to collect as much light as possible to see galaxies from the beginning of the universe and to detect other faint astronomical sources.

Explore further: Scientist uncovers red planet's climate history in unique meteorite

More information: For more information about NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, visit: www.jwst.nasa.gov

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 ...

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 ...

James Webb telescope team completes optical milestone

Jan 16, 2013

(Phys.org)—Engineers working on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope met another milestone recently with they completed performance testing on the observatory's aft-optics subsystem at Ball Aerospace & Technologies ...

Recommended for you

Light of life

2 hours ago

A fluorescent microscopic view of cells from a type of bone cancer, being studied for a future trip to deep space – aiming to sharpen our understanding of the hazardous radiation prevailing out there.

Local model better describes lunar gravity

8 hours ago

Two satellites orbiting the Moon as a part of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission have been mapping its inner structure by measuring subtle shifts in the pull of gravity on the ...

User comments : 0