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According to Lockheed Martin, the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument exceeded requirements during Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) testing and will now be integrated into the telescope's instrument cluster for combined testing.
Built by Lockheed for NASA and the University of Arizona, NIRCam acts as the primary science instrument and imager for the JWST and was delivered to NASA in March 2014 for installation and testing in the ISIM. It covers the infrared wavelength range of 0.6 (the edge of the visible spectrum) to 5 microns (the near infrared) and its focal plane assemblies consist of 40 million pixels that operate at 35 Kelvin.
In addition, NIRCam acts as the telescope's primary mirror-alignment sensor, which keeps the 18 individual, adjustable mirror segments aligned, so it comes under the heading of indispensable
And with a width of 6.5m, JWST's will have roughly seven times the light-collecting area of Hubble's mirror.
It is so big in fact that it must be capable of folding. Only by turning the edges inwards will the beryllium segments fit inside the telescope's launch rocket.
The observatory is currently under construction at the US space agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Shortly, the secondary mirror,... will be collapsed into a flat configuration.
Then, the whole edifice will be flipped 180 degrees. This will permit the engineering team to attach JWST's instruments behind the main mirror.
Once the integration of mirror and instruments is complete, the telescope will be sent for environmental testing. It will be shaken and blasted with sound to mimic the rough rocket ride to orbit.
Assuming that goes well, the whole train - mirror and instruments - will ship to Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Texas for some final deep-chill testing.
This will be conducted in the giant cryo-vacuum chamber built to accommodate the 1960s Apollo hardware.
Once that work is done, engineers must attach the spacecraft bus, which incorporates elements such as the flight computers and communications system. Finally, James Webb will be given an immense deployable visor - the structure that will shield its delicate observations from the Sun's light and heat.
[T]wo dozen engineers and technicians successfully installed the package of science instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope into the telescope structure. The package is the collection of cameras and spectrographs that will record the light collected by Webb's giant golden mirror.
Inside the world's largest clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the team crane-lifted the heavy science instrument package, lowered it into an enclosure on the back of the telescope, and secured it to the telescope.
Before the procedure, the engineers and technicians had trained with test runs, computer modeling and a mock-up of the instrument package. This is a critical mission operation.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment for our worldwide team," said John Mather, James Webb Space Telescope Project Scientist and Nobel Laureate. "There are vital instruments in this package from Europe and Canada as well as the US and we are so proud that everything is working so beautifully, 20 years after we started designing our observatory."
Space-based observations from telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope have amazed us for decades and the James Webb Space Telescope is only a couple of years away from launch. Recently, we have seen amazing discoveries of planets outside our solar system and the detection of gravitation waves. This is just the beginning.
Kepler’s successes in hunting exoplanets will continue with the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in 2017 and be augmented by the capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Wide Field Infrared Space telescope (WFIRST), and ground-based telescopes such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). The LSST may be able to peer into the atmospheres of these exoplanets and conduct spectroscopy to determine the composition of their atmospheres.
The cooler will chill one of the Webb telescope's four instruments, called the Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI, which will also study other stars, exoplanets and galaxies.
MIRI will be the coldest instrument onboard the telescope, operating at... temperatures of no more than 6.7 degrees above absolute zero, or minus 448 degrees Fahrenheit. Why so cold? MIRI sees what is known as mid-infrared light, which is given off by objects at around room temperature. Desks, people and the air we breathe, for example, are aglow with mid-infrared light that we can't see with our eyes. Specialized instruments like MIRI are designed to pick up this mid-infrared glow, but they must be chilled to avoid background infrared light that can drown out what astronomers want to see.
"The instrument has to be cold enough to not detect itself," said Ressler, explaining that the instrument gives off its own heat. Moreover, MIRI’s mid-infrared detectors, which convert light into electrical signals the way a camera chip inside a cell phone does to take photos, need to be chilled to less than 7 degrees above absolute zero to even work right.
Engineers first fitted the compressor and their electronics into a special cold chamber and tested it, then they vibrated the compressor to mimic the effects of a rocket launch, and finally tested it once again in the cold chamber, checking-out its full range of performance.
The results showed that the device is twice as efficient as required. "If a lot of extra unanticipated heat is generated by the telescope, we can take care of it," said Sukhatme.
Taking a "before" optical measurement of the telescope's deployed mirror is crucial before the telescope goes into several stages of rigorous mechanical testing. These tests will simulate the violent sound and vibration environments the telescope will experience inside its rocket on its way out into space.
Webb has been designed and constructed to withstand its launch environment, but it must be tested to verify that it will indeed survive and not change in any unexpected way. Making the same optical measurements both before and after simulated launch environment testing and comparing the results is fundamental to Webb's development, assuring that it will work in space...
The Center of Curvature test measures the shape of Webb's main mirror by comparing light reflected off of it with light from a computer-generated hologram that represents what Webb's mirror ideally should be.
A Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer says he was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Houston during President Trump’s travel ban and pressured into giving agents access to his NASA-issued phone.
Sidd Bikkannavar detailed his detainment in a public Facebook post two weeks ago that has since been removed, according to a cache of the page.
“Just to be clear — I’m a US-born citizen and NASA engineer, traveling with a valid US passport,” Bikkannavar wrote on Facebook. “Once they took both my phone and the access PIN, they returned me to the holding area with the cots and other sleeping detainees until they finished copying my data.”
NASA provided a new device and a new phone number, according to the Facebook post.
The Webb telescope will be shipped to Johnson [Houston, Texas] for end-to-end optical testing in a vacuum at its extremely cold operating temperatures. Then it will continue on its journey to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, for final assembly and testing prior to launch in 2018.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s most advanced space observatory. This engineering marvel is designed to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of the universe, from discovering the first stars and galaxies that formed after the big bang to studying the atmospheres of planets around other stars. It is a joint project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency