Image: James Webb Space Telescope wings arrive for testing at Marshall

Apr 04, 2013
Credit: NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's X-ray and Cryogenic Test Facility recently received the James Webb Space Telescope's wings for testing.

In order to prepare the Webb structures to meet the extreme temperatures of space, engineers at the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility will carefully examine telescope components inside a vacuum chamber that simulates the hyper-cold of space, chilling the hardware from room temperature down to a frigid minus 414 F. Results will reveal any imperfections that occur with the components so changes can be made if needed.

The wings have 900 separate parts and enable the mirrors to be folded and fit within a 16.4 foot diameter fairing aboard a rocket. Most of the parts were made from lightweight graphite composite materials using advanced fabrication techniques. Once the telescope is in space, the wings will enable the unfolding of the mirror section to its full 21-foot diameter.

The wing assemblies were designed and constructed by aerospace and defense product supplier ATK at its Utah facility.

The is the world's next-generation 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 and the .

Explore further: Bad weather delays SpaceX launch with 3-D printer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 ...

James Webb Telescope flight backplane section completed

Apr 24, 2012

The center section of the backplane structure that will fly on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has been completed, marking an important milestone in the telescope's hardware development. The backplane will ...

Recommended for you

Internet moguls Musk, Bezos shake up US space race

Sep 20, 2014

The space race to end America's reliance on Russia escalated this week with a multibillion dollar NASA award for SpaceX's Elon Musk and an unexpected joint venture for Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos.

Winter in the southern uplands of Mars

Sep 19, 2014

Over billions of years, the southern uplands of Mars have been pockmarked by numerous impact features, which are often so closely packed that they overlap. One such feature is Hooke crater, shown in this ...

Five facts about NASA's ISS-RapidScat

Sep 19, 2014

NASA's ISS-RapidScat mission will observe ocean wind speed and direction over most of the globe, bringing a new eye on tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. Here are five fast facts about the mission.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lurker2358
1 / 5 (3) Apr 04, 2013
This will officially be the most over budget project in NASA history, though the ISS is still king for most worthless cash cow.