July 9, 2014

Cover Story

CEO of the Year

Utah’s business landscape is rich with professionals who have le...Read More

Featured Articles

Did you go Skiing this winter?

Around Utah

Sections

Spotlight
Martin Plaehn

Spotlight
Karen Sendelback

Legal Briefs
Social Media and Employers: Friends or Enemies?

Money Talk
The Case for HSAs

Economic Insight
Time to Show Up

Lessons Learned
Make a Move

TechKnowledge
In the Lab

EntrepreneurEdge
Rent to Own

Business Trends
Back from the Dead

Executive Living
Artful Inspiration

Features
A Breath of Fresh Air

Features
Worst-Case Scenario

Regional Report
Northern Utah

Focus
Measure Up

Industry Outlook
Travel & Tourism

Players
Players

Article

ATK Finishes Testing on Webb Space Telescope Component

Press Release

July 9, 2014

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has reached another development milestone with the completion of static load testing of its primary mirror backplane support structure (PMBSS) moving the telescope one step closer to its 2018 launch.

The PMBSS is the stable platform that holds the telescope's science instruments and the 18 beryllium mirror-segments that form the 21-foot-diameter primary mirror nearly motionless while the telescope peers into deep space. The primary mirror is the largest mirror in the telescope — the one starlight will hit first. ATK designed, engineered and constructed more than 10,000 parts for the PMBSS at its facilities in Magna.

"Static testing demonstrates the backplane has the structural integrity to withstand the forces and vibrations of launch and is the final test prior to starting the integration of the backplane with the rest of the telescope," said Lee Feinberg, NASA's Optical Telescope Element manager at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The Northrop Grumman Corporation and ATK of Magna, Utah, completed the testing before delivering the structure to Northrop Grumman's facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif.

"This is the largest, most complex cryogenically stable structure humans have ever built," said Scott Texter, Optical Telescope Element manager for Northrop Grumman. "Completion of the static testing verifies it can hold the weight it is designed to hold. Now the structural backbone of the observatory is officially verified and ready for integration."

Despite its size and complexity, the PMBSS is one of the most lightweight precision-alignment truss structures ever designed and built. When fully deployed, it measures approximately 24 feet tall by 19.5 feet wide by more than 11.5 feet deep, and weighs only 2,180 pounds. Once fully assembled and populated, the PMBSS will support a mission payload and instruments that weigh more than 7,300 pounds. With a full launch load, it will support the equivalent of 12 times its own weight.

The PMBSS is designed to minimize changes in the shape of the telescope caused when one side is hotter than the other. While the telescope is operating at a range of extremely cold temperatures, between -406 and -343 degrees Fahrenheit, the backplane must not move more than 38 nanometers, approximately 1/1,000 the diameter of a human hair.

Under contract from NASA, Northrop Grumman is the lead contractor for the design and development of the Webb telescope's optics, sunshield and spacecraft. They used composite parts, lightweight graphite materials, state-of-the-art material sciences and advanced fabrication techniques to build the structure.

The next step for the space telescope is to integrate the composite structures with the deployment mechanisms to create the overall Optical Telescope Element (OTE) structure. The OTE structure will then be shipped to Goddard for integration with the mirrors. NASA and Northrop Grumman will perform cryogenic testing of the PMBSS structure after mirror integration is complete.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world's next-generation space observatory and successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Designed to be the most powerful space telescope ever built, Webb will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the first galaxies formed and see unexplored planets around distant stars. The Webb telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
Content Marketing BootcampUtah Business Event
Oct 28, 2014
Please join Utah Business Magazine and Adobe, along with our other sponsors: Boostability, Right ...
Sustainable Business Awards 2014Utah Business Event
Nov 13, 2014
Utah Business magazine along with presenting sponsor Big D Construction, is pleased to announce t...
Best Companies to Work For 2014Utah Business Event
Dec 11, 2014
Utah Business magazine along with our sponsors Diversified Insurance and Miller Motor Sports Park...
Community Events View All
2014 Wicked Halloween 5K and Family Expo
Oct 25, 2014
Calling all witches, ghosts, vampires and werewolves! Join us on October 25th at Memory Grove Par...
St. George Book Festival - Book Expo Extravaganza!
Oct 25, 2014
What to Except: * Readers of all ages and genres will get a chance to meet dozens of prolific au...

info@utahbusiness.com  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
Date(s):
to
* Event Description:
  Cancel