Beacon Transcript – NASA has recently revealed that the James Webb Space Telescope is one step closer to being ready for a space launch after its final sunshield layer was completed.
The James Webb Telescope will be the latest and most accurate device in a series of eyes trained towards the sky which should help us better understand our Universe.
The telescope has recently received its final layer of sunshield which should act as a protective barrier against the Sun’s merciless rays.
The sunshield, which is considered to be quite a breakthrough in the domain, consists of five layers which are just as thin as a human hair.
The sunshield membrane, composed of five layers, was designed and manufactured by the NeXolve Corporation based in Huntsville, Alabama.
The fifth layer of the membrane was delivered to the Redondo Beach Northrop Grumman’s Space Park on September 29 and is said to have marked an important milestone in the James Webb Telescope’s record.
The five layered membrane will work as a shield whose purpose is to prevent and protect the telescope from the heat of the Sun. The heat could also potentially cause interferences in the infrared sensor of the telescope.
The mechanism of the groundbreaking sunshield seeks to eliminate the heat by reducing it, instead of trying to deflect it.
As each of the five layers is increasingly colder, the closer one gets to their base, the observatory’s sides should come to be cooled up to almost 570 degrees Fahrenheit when compared to the initial values.
All the layers of the James Webb Telescope sunshield are made from kapton, a polyimide film capable of withstanding and maintaining a constant temperature even across a wide range of temperatures.
The five layers reach the dimension of a tennis court and the system took a total number of three years before being completed, with many more years behind it dedicated to its design and development.
James Cooper, sunshield manager of the Webb telescope at the Goddard Space Flight Center, declared that all the five layer were delivered and beautifully executed by the company.
The membrane layers will be integrated into the Webb telescope sunshield subsystem by Northrop Grumman. Grumman is also the mind behind the James Webb Telescope optics systems, as well as the NASA Goddard spacecraft bus.
After the sunshield will finish being installed, a number of tests will have to be made so as to verify the system’s folding and deployment techniques. These will mark the sunshields final steps in the system validation process.
The completion of the sunshield will also bring the mission one step closer to completion as its 2018 pre-determined launch date is approaching.
The James Webb Space Telescope is set to launch in October 2018 from the French Guiana and marks the collaboration between the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, and NASA.
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