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2012: The Webb telescope's big year of progress
Date:2/5/2013

The James Webb Space Telescope marked another year of significant progress in 2012 as flight instrumentation was completed and delivered to NASA.

The year brought forth the delivery of two types of flight mirrors, the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), the Fine Guidance Sensor and Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS/NIRISS), and the completion of the center section of the primary mirror backplane. The Webb project modified the historic Chamber A at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, to enable the Webb telescope's optics and instrument systems to be tested. In addition to the telescope and test chambers coming together, spinoff technology from the Webb has already been used in industries to improve people's lives.

Mirrors

On Sept. 17, 2012, two primary mirror segments that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope arrived at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The flight secondary mirror and a third primary mirror segment arrived at NASA Goddard on Nov. 5, 2012, and are currently being stored in the giant clean room. All of the mirrors are made of beryllium, which was selected for its stiffness, light weight and stability at extremely cold cryogenic temperatures. Bare beryllium is not very reflective at Webb's shortest wavelengths, so each mirror is coated with gold. The microscopic gold coating enables the mirrors to efficiently reflect infrared light (which is what the Webb telescope's cameras see).

MIRI

The Mid-infrared Instrument (MIRI) flight hardware was delivered to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on May 28 2012, for integration into the ISIM. The MIRI will allow scientists to study cold and distant objects in greater detail than ever before and with unprecedented sensitivity. MIRI will observe light with wavelengths in the mid-infrared range of 5 microns to 28.5 microns, which is longer wavelength than human eyes can detect. Of Webb's four instr
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Contact: Lynn Chandler
Lynn.chandler-1@nasa.gov
301-286-2806
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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2012: The Webb telescope's big year of progress
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