Image: Technicians ensure James Webb Space Telescope's sunshield survives stresses experienced during liftoff

July 20, 2018, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Technicians ensure James Webb Space Telescope's sunshield survives stresses experienced during liftoff

The sound associated with a rocket launch creates extreme vibrations that can adversely affect any satellite or observatory, so engineers put through simulations to ensure they will remain operational. 

In this photo, technicians delicately inspect stowed sunshield membranes of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope on the forward side of the spacecraft. Acoustic testing exposes the spacecraft to similar forces and stress experienced during liftoff, allowing engineers to better prepare it for the rigors of spaceflight.

The sunshield separates the observatory into a hot, sun-facing side (reaching temperatures close to 230 degrees Fahrenheit), and a cold side (approximately minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit) where the sunlight is blocked from interfering with the sensitive instruments.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world's premier science observatory. Webb will solve mysteries of our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Explore further: NASA closes Chamber A door to commence Webb telescope testing

Related Stories

NASA's Webb telescope emerges from Chamber A

December 1, 2017

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, or Webb, emerged from Chamber A at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston on Dec. 1 to prepare for its upcoming move to California.

Recommended for you

Preparing for discovery with NASA's Parker Solar Probe

December 13, 2018

Weeks after Parker Solar Probe made the closest-ever approach to a star, the science data from the first solar encounter is just making its way into the hands of the mission's scientists. It's a moment many in the field have ...

The epoch of planet formation, times twenty

December 12, 2018

Astronomers have cataloged nearly 4,000 exoplanets in orbit around distant stars. Though the discovery of these newfound worlds has taught us much, there is still a great deal we do not know about the birth of planets and ...

Juno mission halfway to Jupiter science

December 12, 2018

On Dec. 21, at 8:49:48 a.m. PST (11:49:48 a.m. EST) NASA's Juno spacecraft will be 3,140 miles (5,053 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops and hurtling by at a healthy clip of 128,802 mph (207,287 kilometers per hour). ...

0 comments

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.