Celestial Fireworks – Official Hubble 25th Anniversary Image (2015).
Credit: NASA, ESA, The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A Nota, The Westerlund 2 Science Team
Throwback: NASA Completes Webb Telescope Center of Curvature Pre-test
An archival image from October 2016.
In November 2016, engineers and technicians working on the James Webb Space Telescope successfully completed the first important optical measurement of Webb’s fully assembled primary mirror, called a Center of Curvature test.
Taking a “before” optical measurement of the telescope’s deployed mirror is crucial before the telescope goes into several stages of rigorous mechanical testing. These tests will simulate the violent sound and vibration environments the telescope will experience inside its rocket on its way out into space. This environment is one of the most stressful structurally and could alter the shape and alignment of Webb’s primary mirror, which could degrade or, in the worst case, ruin its performance.
Webb has been designed and constructed to withstand its launch environment, but it must be tested to verify that it will indeed survive and not change in any unexpected way. Making the same optical measurements both before and after simulated launch environment testing and comparing the results is fundamental to Webb’s development, assuring that it will work in space.
Read the full story: go.nasa.gov/2fyqLwE
Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn