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The Webb Update #8 - June 2010

Welcome to the eighth issue of the Webb Update, a newsletter to update the community about the James Webb Space Telescope.  Webb will be the next flagship astrophysics mission for NASA and is planned for launch no sooner than 2014.  A text version of this newsletter is emailed to a subscriber list when it is released. If you would like to receive the email newsletter, please visit our main Newsletter page for information on how to subscribe.

In this newsletter:

JWST Passes Mission CDR

Artist conception

JWST passed the Mission CDR in April - the largest mission milestone to date. The Mission CDR encompassed other recent successful CDRs, including the four science instruments and Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), the Optical Telescope Element, and the Sunshield. The Mission CDR focused on validation of the mission design, included integrated performance modeling, and the verification plan to test the observatory. The Mission CDR officially approved the observatory design. Many flight components of the telescope with long lead times are already underway, including the mirrors (see 'JWST's First Primary Mirror Polished to Specifications' in this Newsletter below) and primary mirror backplane structure. The final CDR for the Spacecraft will be held next year.


Goddard accepts delivery of Engineering Test Units for all of the Webb’s science instruments

JWST's instrument payload consists of four science instruments. An Engineering Test Unit (ETU) has been constructed for each of them to verify key aspects of design functionality at the instrument provider’s plant. These ETUs are then used by GSFC to verify: procedures for integrating the instruments into the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), compatibility of the instruments with each other, and compatibility with the ISIM support systems that are shared among them. The ETUs for NIRCam, NIRSpec, and MIRI have arrived in the GSFC Spacecraft Systems Development and Integration Facility (SSDIF) and can often been seen via webcam. The FGS ETU has been delivered "in place" at its providers plant in Ottawa Canada where it will remain through the summer before shipment to the SSDIF.


JWST's First Primary Mirror Polished to Specifications

JWST's first primary mirror segment was polished to meet required cryogenic operating temperatures in early March at the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility (XRCF) at the Marshall Space Flight Center. The testing demonstrates that cryopolished mirrors will meet their optical requirements in the cryogenic environment of L2. The polished mirror segment will undergo additional extensive testing in order to verify its performance. This first polished mirror will serve as a flight spare and has paved the way for the remaining 18 flight mirror segments to undergo cryo-polishing, which is already underway. In addition to the primary mirror segment, the flight Tertiary mirror, flight Fine steering and flight-spare secondary mirrors completed their cryo-polishing with every mirror meeting requirements. Gold coating of flight mirrors has started with the successful coating of the tertiary mirror.

Mirrors Mirrors

Other JWST News

Would you like a colloquium at your university on JWST? How about a talk at a conference you are organizing? These JWST Science Working Group members are willing to give a talk. All expenses will be paid by the JWST project.

  • Mark Clampin, GSFC, "Exoplanets with JWST."
  • Rene Doyon, Universite de Montreal, "JWST Tunable Filter Science."
  • Jonathan Gardner, GSFC, "JWST and Galaxy Evolution."
  • Matt Greenhouse, GSFC, "JWST Mission Overview and Status."
  • Heidi Hammel, Space Science Institute, "Planetary Exploration with JWST."
  • John Hutchings, DAO, "JWST’s Guider and Tunable Filter Imager."
  • Jonathan Lunine, University of Arizona & University of Rome, "JWST, Exoplanets and the Solar System."
  • John Mather, GSFC, "JWST Mission Overview and Status."
  • George Rieke, University of Arizona, "Debris Disks and the Evolution of Planetary Systems."
  • Marcia Rieke, University of Arizona, "NIRCam for JWST: Exoplanets to Deep Surveys."
  • Eric Smith, NASA HQ, "JWST, the NASA Astrophysics Program and the Decadal Survey."
  • George Sonneborn, GSFC, "Imaging and Spectroscopy with JWST."
  • Massimo Stiavelli, STScI, "Studying the first galaxies and reionization with JWST."
  • Rogier Windhorst, Arizona State University, "JWST and Reionization" or "JWST and Supermassive Black Hole Growth."

To arrange a talk, please email or contact the speaker directly.

The speakers are also available to give JWST Mission Overview talks and talks at the general public level.

The Goddard Public Affairs Office has recently released two items: the Goddard Cleanroom "Webb Cam", and the JWST "Movie Trailer"