By Laura Betz
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

James Webb Space Telescope Mirror Seen in Full Bloom

GREENBELT, MD |  It’s springtime and the deployed primary mirror of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope looks like a spring flower in full bloom.

In this photo, NASA technicians lifted the telescope using a crane and moved it inside a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Once launched into space, the Webb telescope’s 18-segmented gold mirror is specially designed to capture infrared light from the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, and will help the telescope peer inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.


The James Webb Space Telescope completed its environmental testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Webb telescope will be shipped to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston for end-to-end optical testing in a vacuum at its extremely cold operating temperatures. Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn
The James Webb Space Telescope completed its environmental testing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Webb telescope will be shipped to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for end-to-end optical testing in a vacuum at its extremely cold operating temperatures. Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has successfully passed the center of curvature test This is important optical measurement of Webb’s fully assembled primary mirror prior to cryogenic testing, and the last test held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, before the spacecraft is shipped to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for more testing

After undergoing rigorous environmental tests simulating the stresses of its rocket launch, the Webb telescope team at Goddard analyzed the results from this critical optical test and compared it to the pre-test measurements. The team concluded that the mirrors passed the test with the optical system unscathed.


“Exploration” by Ashley Zelinskie is a gold-plated sculpture, 3-D printed in nylon. The hands of Nobel Laureate/Webb Senior Project Scientist Dr. John Mather and astrophysicist/Webb Deputy Project Scientist for Communications Dr. Amber Straughn were scanned for the sculpture, and then physics equations were overlaid onto them. | Credits: Maggie Masetti

“The Webb telescope is about to embark on its next step in reaching the stars as it has successfully completed its integration and testing at Goddard. It has taken a tremendous team of talented individuals to get to this point from all across NASA, our industry and international partners, and academia,” said Bill Ochs, NASA’s Webb telescope project manager. “It is also a sad time as we say goodbye to the Webb Telescope at Goddard, but are excited to begin cryogenic testing at Johnson.”

James Webb Space Telescope Mirror
James Webb Space Telescope Mirror

For more information about the Webb telescope visit: www.jwst.nasa.gov or www.nasa.gov/webb


The technicians who are inspecting the telescope and its expansive golden mirrors look like ghostly wraiths in this image as they conduct a “lights out inspection.”

What happens when the lights are turned out in the enormous clean room that currently houses NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope?
The technicians who are inspecting the telescope and its expansive golden mirrors look like ghostly wraiths in this image as they conduct a “lights out inspection” in the Spacecraft Systems Development and Integration Facility (SSDIF) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The clean room lights were turned off to inspect the telescope after it experienced vibration and acoustic testing. The contamination control engineer used a bright flashlight and special ultraviolet flashlights to inspect for contamination because it’s easier to find in the dark.

NASA photographer Chris Gunn said “The people have a ghostly appearance because it’s a long exposure.” He left the camera’s shutter open for a longer than normal time so the movement of the technicians appear as a blur. He also used a special light “painting” technique to light up the primary mirror.

April 26, 2017
via NASA http://ift.tt/2pyf5di