James Webb Space Telescope Component Undergoes Successful Design Review

Dec 03, 2007
James Webb Space Telescope Component Undergoes Successful Design Review
So that the segments work together as a single large mirror, the 18 mirror segments have been divided into 3 groups of six mirrors, each group having a slightly different shape. Credit: NASA

A preliminary design review has concluded and verified the integrated performance of all subsystems in the Optical Telescope Element on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

The Optical Telescope Element or OTE is the "eye" of the Webb Observatory. The telescope consists of a 6.5-meter (21.3 foot) primary mirror; secondary, tertiary and fine steering mirrors; and supporting structures, deployable tower and control electronics.

"The successful completion of the Optical Telescope Element Preliminary Design Review is a significant milestone in the telescope development which demonstrates it's full feasibility and which allows the team to move on to final, detailed designs," said Lee Feinberg, James Webb Space Telescope Optical Telescope Element Manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

"Meeting rigorous technology development requirements and successfully completing component design reviews earlier this year have given us confidence that the telescope will perform its mission within our cost and schedule commitments," said Martin Mohan, JWST program manager for Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector. Northrop Grumman is NASA’s prime contactor for the Webb Telescope, leading the design and development effort under contract to NASA Goddard.

Last January, before a team of experts assembled by NASA, the Northrop Grumman the telescope team demonstrated that the technology ready to move into the detailed engineering phase. Technology Readiness Level 6 was achieved for all critical telescope components, meaning prototypes had been successfully tested in a thermal vacuum chamber. The thermal vacuum simulates the very cold temperatures and vacuum of space.

At the review, the team also presented a plan for the final assembly and verification of the telescope. This includes all subsystems, backplane, thermal controls and hardware for sub-assemblies as well as simulated space environment testing at Johnson Space Center, Houston.

Significant progress is being made on key portions of the telescope. Machining of the 18 primary mirror flight segments was completed earlier this year and currently the backplane, which supports the primary mirror, is being fabricated.

The Webb Telescope will be the premier space observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, from the first galaxies assembled in the universe, to the formation of solar systems potentially capable of supporting life, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

Source: NASA,

Explore further: Testing immune cells on the International Space Station

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The amazing anatomy of James Webb Space Telescope mirrors

Mar 20, 2014

When you think of a mirror, there really isn't that much needed to describe it, but when you look at a mirror that will fly aboard NASA's next-generation James Webb Space Telescope, there's a lot to the anatomy ...

Astronomers looking for clues to water's origins

Mar 27, 2014

A gas and dust cloud collapses to form a star. Amid a whirling disc of debris, little bits of rock coated with liquid water and ice begin to stick together. It is this stage of a star's formation that astronomers ...

James Webb Space telescope passes a mission milestone

Jan 24, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has passed its first significant mission milestone for 2014—a Spacecraft Critical Design Review (SCDR) that examined the telescope's power, communications ...

Scientists assemble new space telescope

Mar 11, 2014

Scientists and engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have begun to assemble and test the James Webb Space Telescope in advance of its 2018 debut.

Recommended for you

Testing immune cells on the International Space Station

3 hours ago

The human body is fine-tuned to Earth's gravity. A team headed by Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy is now conducting an experiment on the International Space Station ...

Easter morning delivery for space station

8 hours ago

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Apr 19, 2014

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

Apr 18, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.