Webb Space Telescope in giant Thermal Vacuum Chamber

The James Webb Space Telescope‘s Pathfinder backplane test model, inside NASA’s giant thermal vacuum chamber, called Chamber A, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, is being prepared for its cryogenic test.

Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

The historic Chamber A previously used for manned spaceflight missions, is now filled with engineers and technicians preparing for a crucial test.

Exelis developed and installed the optical test equipment in the chamber.

Thomas Scorse, Exelis JWST Program Manager, said:

“The optical test equipment was developed and installed in the chamber by ExelisThe Pathfinder telescope gives us our first opportunity for an end-to-end checkout of our equipment.”

Lee Feinberg, NASA Optical Telescope Element Manager, said:

“This will be the first time on the program that we will be aligning two primary mirror segments together. In the past, we have always tested one mirror at a time but this time we will use a single test system and align both mirrors to it as though they are a single monolithic mirror.”

The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Webb Space Telescope test primary mirror segmentsScientists and engineers placed two NASA James Webb Space Telescope test primary mirror segments onto the support structure that will hold them, where they resemble stepping stones.   Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Text credit: Laura Betz, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

source NASA