James Webb Space Telescope Performs Environmental Test | Human world


On October 6, 2020, NASA said its James Webb Space Telescope had taken another step towards its much-awaited October 2021 launch, as it passed a series of “environmental tests” tests to simulate the launch’s considerable rigor. is. The tests took place at the Northrop Grumman Aerospace facility in Redondo Beach, California, where the final assembly of the telescope was also completed in collaboration with NASA engineers.

The Web is an infrared space telescope that is planned to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope as NASA’s premier space observatory in support of astrophysics studies of the distant universe. Compare the web and the Hubble telescope here. The web was originally scheduled for 2007, but has gone through several delays, including a major redesign in 2005. Despite the setback, astronomers and astronomer enthusiasts are thrilled about the web’s upcoming launch.

NASA said that although each component of the web telescope has been individually tested during development, the recent demonstration that assembled flight hardware can handle the climax of the environment is a significant achievement for the mission.

Technicians uncovered a fully assembled observatory for intensive acoustics in a special chamber, destroying it with sounds that topped 140 decibels. For comparison, thunder is heard at 130 decibels; Sound of fireworks at around 150 decibels. The web was then placed on a special shake table, which accelerated the telescope with low-frequency vibrations and would be shaken in comparison to feel it during its upcoming launch.

For the first time at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California, test teams carefully picked up the fully assembled James Webb Space Telescope to prepare it for transport to nearby acoustic and vibration test facilities. Image via NASA / Chris Gunn.

Placing the telescope through a launched launch environment is the best way to ensure that it is ready for the real thing. And if anything goes awry, it would be far more convenient to address and / or repair Earth on Earth than to be a million miles out of reach of any human. However, fortunately, the test went according to plan. Bill Ochs, web project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, commented in a statement:

Our observatories represent a monumental milestone in March to launch the successful completion of environmental testing. Environmental testing demonstrates the web’s ability to survive in space by rockets, the most violent part of its journey into orbit at about one million miles from Earth. The multinational group of individuals responsible for performing acoustic and vibration testing is made up of an excellent and dedicated group of people who are typical of the entire web team.

Web engineer Sandra Irish at Goddard also said in the same statement:

The test team is an international consortium of structural dynamics experts who are the lead engineers for each piece of hardware at the observatory. The team members are located throughout the US and Europe and are spread across nine time zones! They are extremely dedicated to supporting the test at all hours and days to provide their expertise.

The web will be launched in 2021 from Arianspace’s ELA-3 launch site in Courouau, near the European Spaceport, Guana, France. The telescope is not quite ready to ship to the launch site yet; NASA officials said it undergoes several tests, including a full system evaluation.

Once it closes, however, the massive observatory will make its way to Lagrange Point 2, a stable 930,000 miles (1.5 million km) gravitational point from our planet. Webb would then deploy his tennis-court-size sunshield and begin studying Cosmos in infrared light, using a 21.3 ft (6.5 m) cross mirror compared to the primary mirror on Hubble.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built. Astronomers intend to use it for many research projects, ranging from scanning nearby alien planets for possible signs of life to studying the early stars and galaxies of our universe. There are larger earth-based telescopes than the web. But the web is a space telescope, designed to revolve above the obscure atmosphere of the Earth, so that it can provide unaltered views of the sky. Thedes Kesari, communications specialist for the mission, wrote:

In addition to its expected ground science after launching, the Web has required improvements in the testing infrastructure and procedures involved in validating large complex spacecraft for a life in space … Learned from previous Space Telescope developments Lessons were invested in the web and future space. Telescopes will be built on the same collective knowledge. Thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians contributed to building, testing and integrating the web. In total, 258 companies, agencies and universities participated – 142 from the United States, 104 from 12 European countries, and 12 from Canada.

The giant hexagon is made of small hexagons with foil-covered arms in the foreground.

The fully assembled James Webb Space Telescope with its sunshield and unified palette structures that will bend around the telescope for launch. Image via NASA.

All technicians and engineers will continue to follow personal safety procedures in response to the Kovid-19 epidemic, which is causing significant impact and disruption globally, but no threat to the final phase of testing the web before launch site shipping is. Scott Wilbaby, Web’s program manager, commented:

The path is to reach the telescope by the end of 2020.

Bottom line: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – Hubble’s successor – took another step towards its much-awaited 2021 launch, by passing a series of “environmental testing” tests designed to simulate the rigors of the launch.

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Lia Rovira

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