MAR 12, 2018 7:30 PM PDT

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Prepares for More Scrupulous Tests

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is slated to become the most powerful space telescope ever built, but it’s not quite space-worthy just yet.

The heart of the space observatory arrived safely at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California last week, and despite undergoing a slew of extensive tests in Houston, Texas already, NASA says there are more tests to complete before it’s ready for launch in 2019.

Engineers hoist the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope out of its shipping container at its final testing facility in California.

Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

“Extensive and rigorous testing prior to launch has proven effective in ensuring that NASA’s missions achieve their goals in space,” noted Eric Smith, the program director for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA.

“Webb is far along into its testing phase and has seen great success with the telescope and science instruments, which will deliver the spectacular results we anticipate,” he continued.

Related: What might the James Webb Space Telescope be able to tell us about Mars?

In its current form, the James Webb Space Telescope isn’t yet fully assembled. The heart of the spacecraft still needs to be mounted to the spacecraft chassis, which includes the multi-layered sunshield that will protect the sensitive instruments from the intensely-bright Sun. Fortunately, everything else is already at the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facility.

After engineers put everything together, the completed space telescope will undergo additional scrupulous testing to ensure that everything deploys as we’d expect it to in space. This involves testing the origami-like folding features of the telescope’s primary mirror and sunshield, all of which must be packed into a cramped rocket’s cargo hold for space delivery.

Given just how important of a project the James Webb Space Telescope is for the future of space exploration, it’s not too surprising that NASA’s taking its time to ensure that everything goes according to plan. After all, it’d be easier to repair a malfunction from Earth’s surface than it would be once the observatory is floating around in space.

“At NASA, we do the seemingly impossible every day, and it's our job to do the hardest things humankind can think of for space exploration,” Smith added.

“The way we achieve success is to test, test and retest, so we understand the complex systems and verify they will work.”

Related: The James Webb Space Telescope could tell us a lot about Proxima b

NASA will continue updating the public as final assembly and testing commence, so it shouldn’t be too long before we hear the next update concerning the space telescope’s progress.

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.
You May Also Like
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
NASA Officially Retires the Spitzer Space Telescope
NASA is always sending spacecraft into space to explore the universe around us; be it the close-proximity stellar neighb ...
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About Solar Orbiter
The Sun is something you see every day when you look up at the daytime sky, but despite residing right in plain sight, t ...
MAR 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 01, 2020
Utilizing the Moon's Resources for Lunar Missions
Plans for future space exploration are taking shape, and many of those are expected to be crewed. One such example invol ...
MAR 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 06, 2020
Father of the Dyson Sphere Passed Away
Last Friday, February 28, 2020, the world said goodbye to Freeman Dyson, was a British American physicist and mathematic ...
MAY 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 03, 2020
These Contractors Will Develop Lunar Landers for NASA's Artemis Mission
NASA seems to be moving quickly to get the ball rolling for its lunar-centric initiative dubbed Artemis. The program aim ...
MAY 11, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 11, 2020
Hear What Astronauts Think About SpaceX's Upcoming Crewed Launch
On Wednesday, May 27th, NASA will entrust commercial space company SpaceX with the coveted task of flying astronauts to ...
Loading Comments...