Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Tinsley's New Large Optics Facility Marks Another Step Forward For JWST

Using the JWST is a key mission in the president's Vision for Space Exploration strategy to search for Earth-like planets and potential life signatures on extra-solar planets. It will operate in an orbit about one million miles from Earth at the L2 Lagrange point after its launch, planned for 2011.
Redondo Beach CA (SPX) Apr 04, 2005
With last Fridays' dedication by Tinsley Laboratories, of a new facility to grind and polish mirror segments for the James Webb Space Telescope to exacting degrees of accuracy, NASA's newest space observatory moved another step ahead.

Tinsley is part of a larger mirror manufacturing team, led by Ball Aerospace & Technologies, which includes Brush Wellman and Axsys Technologies. All are members of prime contractor Northrop Grumman's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) design and development team.

The new 30,000-square-foot facility, in Richmond, Calif., is being equipped with nine specially designed computer-controlled optical surfacing (CCOS) machines that will perform high precision grinding and off-axis aspheric polishing.

Tinsley is also adding a state of the art optical test facility to control ambient temperature to one-quarter of a degree Fahrenheit to ensure precise measurements can be performed around the clock.

The new facility will enable Tinsley to process up to twelve JWST mirror segments simultaneously, completing the polishing of optical surfaces for JWST's 18 mirror segments in about two-and-a-half years. The first mirror segment, an engineering development unit, will be shipped to Tinsley next month.

"Tinsley's increased capacity will help us meet rigorous program requirements," says Maureen Heath, vice president, Civil Space, Northrop Grumman Space Technology.

"As a next-generation space telescope, JWST is pushing the edge of the envelope in design and manufacturing technology. We're pleased that Tinsley, with its understanding, experience and capability in manufacturing space telescope mirrors, is a teammate on this exciting program."

Using the JWST is a key mission in the president's Vision for Space Exploration strategy to search for Earth-like planets and potential life signatures on extra-solar planets. It will operate in an orbit about one million miles from Earth at the L2 Lagrange point after its launch, planned for 2011.

After initial polishing at Tinsley at room temperature, JWST's mirror segments will be tested at minus 243 degrees Celsius, or roughly minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit, in a cryogenic test chamber at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

The mirrors will then be returned to Tinsley's facility for further refinement and polishing to the final specifications at room temperature.

"We must polish the mirror segments at room temperature so that they make a perfect aspheric form at cryogenic operating temperatures, with only 20 nanometers maximum error," said John Kincade, vice president and general manager of Tinsley. (Twenty nanometers is about one 5,000th the thickness of a normal piece of paper.)

"We're able to do this with our proprietary CCOS equipment and precision metrology equipment, which has been specially designed and built for working on large optics to this precision."

Manufacturing the JWST's mirrors is a multi-step process that involves compressing beryllium into large segments called "blanks"; machining the blanks; grinding and polishing the mirrors; and incorporating the mirrors into optical assemblies and mounting them on the telescope structure.

Tinsley is a subsidiary of SSG Precision Optronics of Wilmington, Massachusetts. SSG Precision Optronics is a developer of major telescope and other opto-mechanical systems for spaceflight environments for both defense and civil applications.

Related Links
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

NASA's Spitzer Marks Beginning of New Age of Planetary Science
Cambridge MA (SPX) Mar 23, 2005
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has for the first time captured the light from two known planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. The findings mark the beginning of a new age of planetary science, in which "extrasolar" planets can be directly measured and compared.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.