Environmental testing complete for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

World Space Week

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has survived a test that proves it is ready for the harsh conditions associated with a rocket launch.

The recent tests included “acoustic” and “shine-vibration” tests for the fully assembled observatory. NASA worked closely with international partners to make sure the testing environment matched precisely to what Webb will experience during launch and while operating in orbit.

“The successful completion of our observatory environmental tests represent a monumental milestone in the march to launch. Environmental testing demonstrates Webb’s ability to survive the rocket ride to space, which is the most violent portion of its trip to orbit approximately a million miles from earth. The multinational group of individuals responsible for the execution of the acoustic and vibration test is composed of an outstanding and dedicated group of folks who are typical of the entire Webb team,” said Bill Ochs, Webb project manager for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Engineers will now fully extend it’s primary mirror sunshield ahead of a full system evaluation. The the telescope will be put in a special shipping container so it can safely be moved to South America.

About the James Webb Space Telescope

The following comes directly from NASA’s website:

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest, most powerful, and complex space science telescope ever built. In addition to the groundbreaking science expected from it after launch, Webb has required an improvement in the testing infrastructure and processes involved in validating large complex spacecraft for a life in space. Various facilities around the country had to be enlarged and upgraded to confidently test and prepare a machine as large as Webb for liftoff. Lessons learned from previous space telescope development were invested into Webb, and future space telescopes will be built upon the same collective knowledge. Thousands of scientists, engineers, and technicians contributed to build, test, and integrate Webb. In total, 258 companies, agencies, and universities participated – 142 from the United States, 104 from 12 European nations, and 12 from Canada.

Webb is NASA’s next great space science observatory, which will help in solving the mysteries of our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mystifying structures and origins of our universe. Webb is an international program led by NASA, along with its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

For more information about Webb, go to: https://www.nasa.gov/webb

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