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Old 02-27-2012, 06:58 PM   #61
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SPACE.com: Next Space Telescope Must Survive 'Big Science' Questions
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:21 PM   #62
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Question: How to make science with the science funding being decided by generation Facebook?
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #63
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NASA:
The Amazing Technology That Crafted the Webb Telescope Technology

Mar. 15, 2012

The creation of the next generation James Webb Space Telescope was only possible as a result of imagining and developing the industrial machines that would make it a reality. In the near future, some of that industrial technology could be in an exhibit for a museum of Industry and Technology.

B-roll of mirror polishing at the L3 Integrated Optical Systems - Tinsley facility located in Richmond, California. Completion of Webb Telescope mirror polishing represents a major mission milestone. All of the mirrors that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope have been polished so the observatory can see objects as far away as the first galaxies in the universe. The mirrors were polished at Tinsley Laboratories Inc. in Richmond, Calif. to accuracies of less than one millionth of an inch. This accuracy is important for forming the sharpest images when the mirrors cool to -400 degrees farenheit (-240 degrees celsius) in the cold of space. This video shows B-roll of mirror polishing at the L3 Integrated Optical Systems - Tinsley facility located in Richmond, California. Ambient noise in background only.
Credit: NASA/Northrop Grumman/Ball/L3 TRT: 1:07


Imagine walking into a museum of industry and technology 10 years from today and seeing one of the incredible machines that helped perfect the James Webb Space Telescope mirrors. Those mirrors allowed us to see the earliest galaxies in the universe. You would be looking at the "Optical Test Station," which was critical in shaping the telescope's mirrors to perfection.

Your tour guide would first explain that the Webb telescope's mirrors went through a lengthy manufacturing process and rigorous tests to ensure they maintained their shape while operating in the extreme cold of space. The mirrors must be able to provide NASA with the sharpest possible images of objects in space, and to do that, they needed to be polished to a precise "prescription." However, the challenge is that the mirrors are polished at room temperature, but have to meet their shape prescription at a temperature near minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

You would learn that the mirror manufacturing for Webb took six years and started with blanks (slabs of metal) made out of beryllium, an extremely hard metal that holds its shape in the extreme cold of space. Polishing is critical to the success of the Webb telescope mirrors, and was conducted at the L-3 Tinsley facility in Richmond, Calif.

Click on image to enlarge
Patrick Johnson, the Webb telescope Optical Test Supervisor at L-3 Tinsley is standing in front of an optical test station used to measure mirror surfaces.
Credit: L-3/Tinsley


It is there that the "Optical Test Station" was created that enabled the mirrors to be made to the extreme accuracy. Your tour guide would stand in front of this large, shiny, steel-hued machine and explain that Tinsley also created a state-of-the-art mirror polishing facility that included temperature cycling ovens, sophisticated measurement systems and nine unique Computer Controlled Optical Surfacing systems able to polish the mirrors to a precision of 18 nanometers. That means if the continental United States was polished smooth to the same tolerances, the entire country – from Maine to California – would not vary in thickness by just over two inches!

This precision was important to help the Webb telescope see the first galaxies that ever formed, and planets around distant stars. The Webb telescope is the world’s next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. It is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

This future exhibit may include a video interview with Patrick Johnson, who was the Webb telescope Optical Test Supervisor at the L-3 Tinsley facility in Richmond, Calif. Patrick used the Optical Test Station to help make the mirrors so precise. As the video plays, Patrick provides answers to questions on what exactly the Optical Test Station does, and how it was used to measure the Webb's mirror surfaces. He would start explain that in 2011, the last set of Webb telescope flight mirrors were finished being polished and coated.

Patrick would explain interferometry, the techniques in which electromagnetic waves are superimposed such that we learn about the light. An interferometer allows precise measurements of surfaces to a fraction of the wavelength of visible light.

Let's listen as Patrick answers some quick questions about the Optical Test Station. The narrator asks "What does the Optical Test Station measure?" Patrick responds, "The optical test was designed to test many of the prescription alignment parameters (or optical surface specifications)." One of the ways that was done was by setting the distance from the interferometer focus point to the surface of the mirror. That was measured using an ADM, known as an Absolute Distance Meter. An ADM is basically a high-technology tape measure that uses laser light to measure distances. Once the spacing was measured, then the radius of the mirror was measured as well as the mirror's circular surface. It's all about being precise.

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The James Webb Space Telescope's Engineering Design Unit (EDU) primary mirror segment, coated with gold by Quantum Coating Incorporated.
Credit: Drew Noel


The next thing involved in the measurement is like something out of Star Trek -- it's a Computer Generated Hologram (CGH)- based test. A CGH subtracts light reflected from the Webb telescope mirror to produce light waves which can be analyzed by an interferometer to measure the mirror’s surface. When tested and analyzed, the data from that test shows any errors that remain on the mirror's surface that need to be corrected to make it perfect. The Computer Generated Hologram isn't just a projected image. it has "alignment features" built into it, which means that there are three prescriptions or settings that mirrors are made into.

Patrick also mentions that the smoothness of the mirror is measured to determine how much stray light, or light from places other than where the mirror is directed, may be created by the mirror's surface.

"If you're wondering what the shiny buzz-saw like object is behind me, it’s a fold mirror," Patrick says. "Due to space constraints, the Webb telescope’s 16 meter (52.49 foot) radius test setup had to be folded in half using a very large, very flat mirror, so that it can fit inside the test facility."

The narrator then asks Patrick how the mirrors are put into that giant buzz-saw like machine. "The mirrors are loaded with the optical face up onto the machine. Then they need to be docked, or locked in place. We do that using mounting features on the back of the mirrors and docking features on the Primary Segment Mount (PSM) on the Optical Test Station. Once the mirror is locked in, the PSM can be raised into a vertical position and point the mirror's reflective surface down the optical path length, or basically pointing away from the camera, to test it."

The narrator then asks, "Does the Optical Test Station use lasers to test, or infrared light?" Patrick responds, "It uses a visible laser beam. The interferometer, which is the little white box to the left of my head (in the image or video) uses a red 632.8 nanometer wavelength laser beam to measure optical surfaces." The narrator notices a sign near Patrick and says, "I noticed the sign behind you says "Primary Segment Mount." Does that mean that all of the Webb telescope's 18 primary mirrors were tested here?" "Correct," Patrick replies. "All 18, plus the numerous spares."

One last and important question is asked."What happens if the mirrors don't pass this test?" the narrator asks in the video. Patrick replies, "The mirrors would go back to optical surfacing then get measured again, and back and forth until they pass all requirements."

The tour then moves on to show visitors a spare mirror that didn't make it on the Webb telescope, and then reveals many secrets the universe has been hiding from humankind for a very long time.

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Old 03-29-2012, 05:35 PM   #64
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NASA:
The MIRI Has Two Faces: Go 'Behind the Webb' (Telescope) in a New Video

Mar. 29, 2012

A short new video takes viewers behind the scenes with the MIRI or the Mid-Infrared Instrument that will fly on-board NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. MIRI is a state-of-the-art infrared instrument that will allow scientists to study distant objects in greater detail than ever before.

The three minute and 19 second video called "The MIRI Has Two Faces" is part of an on-going video series about the Webb telescope called "Behind the Webb." It was produced at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md. and takes viewers behind the scenes with scientists and engineers who are creating the Webb telescope's components. MIRI's "two faces" allow the instrument to look at the cosmos in pictures and through spectroscopy.

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The James Webb Space Telescope has multiple science instruments, but only one of them, the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), sees light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Mary Estacion pays a visit to MIRI, being assembled at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford, England.
Credit: STScI
The flight Mid-Inrared Instrument (MIRI) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in England.
Credit: RAL
The MIRI is both a spectrometer and an imager. MIRI contains two apertures that can be pointed at an object in space to record both its image and spectrum. An aperture is an opening through which light travels. The MIRI is basically two instruments in one, so it has "two faces." MIRI records light with wavelength in the range of 5 to 28 microns.
Credit: NASA


The James Webb Space Telescope contains four science instruments, but only one of them, the MIRI, sees light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Mid-infrared light is longer in wavelength than that which the other Webb instruments are designed to observe. This unique capability of the MIRI allows the Webb telescope to study physical processes occurring in the cosmos that the other Webb instruments cannot see.

In the video, STScI host Mary Estacion interviewed European principal investigator, Dr. Gillian Wright. Wright explained the benefits of the MIRI's mid-infrared vision, who explained that the instrument is better at seeing through dust which obscures key phenomena such as star formation. It is also better at seeing light emitted by molecules that reveal a wealth of physical information and can reveal the presence of life on other planets.

The MIRI is both a spectrometer and an imager. MIRI contains two apertures that can be pointed at an object in space to record both its image and spectrum. An aperture is an opening through which light travels. The MIRI is basically two instruments in one, so it has "two faces."

MIRI records light with wavelength in the range of 5 to 28 microns. Its sensitive detectors will allow it to make unique observations of many things including the light of distant galaxies, newly forming stars within our own Milky Way, the formation of planets around stars other than our own, as well as planets, comets, and the outermost debris disk in our own solar system.

The MIRI’s spectrometer will enable scientists to learn about an object’s physical properties, including temperature, mass, and chemical composition. The MIRI's camera will provide images that enable scientists to study an object’s shape and structure, and will continue to provide the kind of breathtaking pictures that have made Hubble famous. "The MIRI instrument and the Webb's large telescope mirror will enable the highest resolution mid-infrared imagery ever achieved in space astronomy," said Matt Greenhouse, project scientist for the Webb instrument payload at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The MIRI also includes coronagraphs that will enable it to image planets and the process of planet formation around stars other than our own.

The MIRI's components were built by a consortium of 11 European countries and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The instrument was assembled and tested at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England, and that's where this new video takes viewers behind the scenes.



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Old 03-29-2012, 05:44 PM   #65
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MIRI... Will it be an onlie who plays foolies on grups?
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:13 AM   #66
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Discovery News: James Webb Space Telescope to TiVo Universe's Birth:
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This week, the James Webb Space Telescope (JSWT) got its brain. Or at least the bit responsible for its memory. The first solid-state electronics unit that will store the telescope's data was delivered by contractor SEAKR Engineering to the telescope's manufacturer, Northrop Grumman.

It's a major milestone leading up the JWST's launch since without data there would be no mission. "All the digital data Webb gathers about our universe... is stored on the onboard solid state recorder until it is delivered to the world's scientists," said Scott Willoughby, vice president and Webb program manager at Northrop Grumman.

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SPACE.com: James Webb Space Telescope to TiVo Universe's Birth
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:48 AM   #67
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NASA: NASA Goddard Engineers Testing Webb Telescope's OSIM and BIA Instruments



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Old 04-13-2012, 02:09 AM   #68
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Argh! Right in the loading times!
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:10 PM   #69
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NASA: Webb Telescope Spinoff Technologies Already Seen in Some Industries
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:47 PM   #70
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NASA:
NASA's Webb Telescope Flight Backplane Section Completed

April 24, 2012

The center section of the backplane structure that will fly on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has been completed, marking an important milestone in the telescope's hardware development. The backplane will support the telescope's beryllium mirrors, instruments, thermal control systems and other hardware throughout its mission.

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The center section of the James Webb Space Telescope flight backplane, or Primary Mirror Backplane Support Structure, at ATK’s manufacturing facility in Magna, Utah.
Credit: ATK


"Completing the center section of the backplane is an important step in completing the sophisticated telescope structure," said Lee Feinberg, optical telescope element manager for the Webb telescope at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This fabrication success is the result of innovative engineering dating back to the technology demonstration phase of the program."

The center section, or primary mirror backplane support structure, will hold Webb's 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter primary mirror nearly motionless while the telescope peers into deep space. The center section is the first of the three sections of the backplane to be completed.

Measuring approximately 24 by 12 feet yet weighing only 500 pounds, the center section of the backplane meets unprecedented thermal stability requirements. The backplane holds the alignment of the telescope's optics through the rigors of launch and over a wide range of operating temperatures, which reach as cold as - 406 degrees Fahrenheit. During science operations, the backplane precisely keeps the 18 primary mirror segments in place, permitting the mirrors to form a single, pristine shape needed to take sharp images.

The Northrop Grumman Corporation in Redondo Beach, Calif., and its teammate ATK in Magna, Utah, completed construction of the center section. Northrop Grumman is under contract to Goddard for the design and development of Webb's sunshield, telescope and spacecraft. ATK manufactured 1,781 composite parts of the center section using lightweight graphite materials and advanced manufacturing techniques.

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NASA Press Release: RELEASE : 12-129 - NASA'S Webb Telescope Flight Backplane Section Completed
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:39 PM   #71
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ESA:
Europe delivers first JWST instrument

9 May 2012

The first instrument to be completed for the James Webb Space Telescope, MIRI, was handed over by the European consortium that built it to ESA at a ceremony held in London today, and will now be delivered to NASA aiming for launch in 2018.

The delivery of MIRI, the Mid InfraRed Instrument, marks an important milestone for JWST, an infrared space observatory with a collecting area more than two and a half times larger than ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory – the largest infrared scientific telescope so far flown to space.

The handover comes at the end of a rigorous testing and calibration phase during which MIRI proved it can deliver cutting-edge science.

“The whole team is delighted that our hard work and dedication has resulted in a MIRI instrument that will meet all our scientific expectations,” says Dr Gillian Wright, the European Principal Investigator for MIRI.

“It is wonderful to be the first to achieve this major milestone for the JWST project. We can now look forward to significant scientific discoveries when it is launched.”

Click on image to enlarge
MIRI, the Mid Infrared Instrument, being prepared for vibration testing at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK. MIRI is the first instrument to be completed for the JWST mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2018.
Credits: Stephen Kill, STFC


Once in space on JWST, MIRI, which comprises a camera and spectrometer, will operate at infrared wavelengths and at an extremely low temperature of -266°C – just 7°C above absolute zero.

The low temperatures are required to keep the instrument’s own infrared emission from overwhelming the faint signals from astronomical targets of interest in the distant Universe.

MIRI will be capable of penetrating thick layers of dust obscuring regions of intense star birth, it will see galaxies near the beginning of the Universe, and it will study sites of new planet formation and the composition of the interstellar medium.

Click on image to enlarge
MIRI, the Mid Infrared Instrument, during ambient temperature alignment testing at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK. MIRI is the first instrument to be completed for the JWST mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2018.
Credits: Stephen Kill, STFC


“It is an immensely challenging project, but together with our US and Canadian colleagues, European scientists and engineers have successfully risen to the challenge and are now delivering key parts of JWST to NASA,” said Prof Mark McCaughrean, head of ESA’s Research and Scientific Support Department.

“The JWST project is looking forward to receiving MIRI,” says Dr Matthew Greenhouse, the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) Project Scientist for JWST at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

“The delivery of MIRI will mark the start of ISIM integration, a major milestone for NASA on the way to completion of JWST by 2018.”

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Old 05-11-2012, 06:19 AM   #72
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BBC article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18006933

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Old 05-30-2012, 07:15 PM   #74
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Spaceflight Now: JWST instrument flies commercial across Atlantic
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:36 PM   #75
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NASA: James Webb Space Telescope’s Mirrors Get 'Shrouded'
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