DEC 06, 2017 08:02 AM PST

James Webb Space Telescope Emerges from NASA's Chamber A

The heart of the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is now on the move once again after NASA opened the door on its historical Chamber A testing facility in Houston, Texas.

Engineers stand next to the massive heart of the James Webb Space Telescope after removing it from NASA's Chamber A testing facility in Houston, Texas.

Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Following several weeks of cryogenic testing, engineers have dollied the heart of the JWST out of the massive vacuum chamber. These tests enabled NASA to ensure that the components powering the observatory would withstand the cold and airless environment of outer space; and that they did.

Not only did NASA capture readings from the observatory’s many sensors, but the space agency also commenced a primary mirror alignment test, which the JWST purportedly passed with flying colors.

The next destination for the heart of the JWST is Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California. There, engineers will fasten the JWST’s heart to the rest of the assembled spacecraft chassis to complete the observatory.

The chassis includes the frame of the space vehicle itself and the massive foil-like Sun shield meant to block the Sun’s light from interfering with JWST’s sensitive instruments while in space.

Related: Here's what the James Webb Space Telescope's completed primary mirror looks like

Immediately after completion of assembly, NASA will move forward with some additional testing to ensure that the completed product functions as expected before launching it into space to commence observations.

Being that the James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful infrared space telescope ever realized, there's an immeasurable amount of excitement surrounding its completion.

By the Spring season of 2019, it will succeed the Hubble Space Telescope as astronomers' go-to observatory and help validate many of the findings produced previously by its predecessor. With a little bit of luck, it might even answer some of the endless questions about our universe that remain today.

You can actively check on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope via NASA’s WEBB Cam page.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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