Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




SPACE SCOPES
Engineers Conduct "Heart Surgery" on the Webb Telescope
by Laura Betz for Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jun 03, 2015


NASA and NIRSpec MSA Replacement Surgery - watch a video on the technology here.

In this new NASA video, engineers from Airbus Defense and Space (DS), Ottobrunn, Germany, dressed in white protective suits and special white gloves, recently completed a delicate surgical procedure to exchange two key components from the "heart" of an instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Airbus DS is associated with the European Space Agency, one of NASA's two partners on the Webb. The other is the Canadian Space Agency.

Webb has four main instruments that will detect light from distant stars and galaxies, and planets orbiting other stars. The operation required the team to open one of those four instruments, the Near Infrared Spectrograph or NIRspec, which is a highly sensitive instrument. This was the last chance to provide upgrades before it flies on the Webb telescope in 2018.

Once in space, NIRSpec will be capable of measuring the spectrum of up to one hundred objects simultaneously. With this tool, scientists will be capable of observing large samples of galaxies and stars at unprecedented depths across large swaths of the Universe and far back in time.

To make this remarkable achievement possible, Goddard scientists and engineers had to invent a new device. This so-called Micro Shutter Array (MSA) controls whether light from an astronomical object in the telescope field of view enters the NIRSpec.

The MSA consists of just under a quarter of a million individually controlled microshutters. Each shutter is approximately as wide as a human hair.

"We exchanged two very crucial subsystems, NIRSpec's Focal Plane Array and the Micro Shutter. We were working deep in the heart of the instrument," said Maurice te Plate, European Space Agency's Webb system integration and test manager working at NASA Goddard.

"We used laser trackers and special camera systems to make sure that everything was accurately aligned. We've had very good support from NASA and we've had a great team from Airbus DS Germany that was super professional and dedicated."

Each morning after dressing in special garments that do not generate dust, the team began work with the lights in the big clean room switched off. They turned their specialized flashlights on and begin pouring over this vital piece looking for fibers. Any presence of fibers could weave through the micro shutters and prevent them from properly closing.

"To prepare for this operation we planned for a year," said Ralf Ehrenwinkler Airbus DS NIRSpec Post Delivery Support Manager.

"We performed everything in a different environment so it's an added challenge. We needed to copy the same clean room environment as the instrument was integrated in Germany, so we needed to establish special clothes and requirements. There was a lot of coordination. The recorded data showed that the required cleanliness levels were well achieved."

Once NIRSpec received its last chance updates, it joined the three other Webb science instruments that were mounted on the ISIM.

NIRSpec weighs about 430 pounds (195 kg), about as much as an upright piano. It is one of four instruments that will fly aboard the Webb telescope. The other instruments include the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) and the Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS/NIRISS).

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

.


Related Links
Webb at NASA
Space Telescope News and Technology at Skynightly.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




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





SPACE SCOPES
WISE Discovers Most Luminous Galaxy in Universe
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 25, 2015
A remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion suns has been discovered using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). The galaxy is the most luminous galaxy found to date and belongs to a new class of objects recently discovered by WISE - extremely luminous infrared galaxies, or ELIRGs. "We are looking at a very intense phase of galaxy evolution," sai ... read more


SPACE SCOPES
Crashing comets may explain mysterious lunar swirls

Google Lunar X-Prize meets Yoda

China, Russia plan joint landing on the Moon

NASA's LRO Moves Closer to the Lunar Surface

SPACE SCOPES
United Arab Emirates Hopes to Reach Mars by2021

NASA Begins Testing Next Mars Lander Insight

The Supreme Council of Parachute Experts

Science Drives NASA's Journey to Mars

SPACE SCOPES
LightSail reestablishes communication with mission control

US Lawmakers Pass Bill for Space Mining in the Future

NASA pushes flying saucer parachute test to Thursday

NASA's Exploration Plans Include Living Off the Land

SPACE SCOPES
China Plans First Ever Landing On The Lunar Far Side

China ranked 4th among world space powers

3D printer making Chinese space suit parts

Xinhua Insight: How China joins space club?

SPACE SCOPES
NASA Delays Approval on International Space Station Projects

Space age mice are thin-skinned

Space Station remodelling

NASA Begins Major Reconfiguration of International Space Station

SPACE SCOPES
Recent Proton loss to push up launch costs warns manufacturer

Air Force Certifies SpaceX for National Security Space Missions

SpaceX cleared for US military launches

Ariane 5's second launch of 2015

SPACE SCOPES
Astronomers Discover a Young Solar System Around a Nearby Star

Circular orbits identified for small exoplanets

Weather forecasts for planets beyond our solar system

Astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets

SPACE SCOPES
MUOS-3 communications satellite completes in-orbit testing

Patent for Navy small space debris tracker granted

3D printers get Ugandan amputees back on their feet

Saving money and the environment with 3-D printing




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - 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.