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JWST Innovations

Wavefront Sensing and Control

The James Webb Space Telescope architecture includes a 6.5 meter diameter telescope having a segmented primary mirror that will deploy after it launches. To perform like a single monolithic mirror, a wavefront sensing and control subsystem is required to sense and then correct any errors in the optics.

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Ball Aerospace has engineered a scaled telescope testbed which is traceable to the flight telescope so that wavefront sensing and control can be developed and demonstrated in a high-fidelity environment. An image of the testbed telescope is shown at left.

Each of the 9 distinct alignment processes - the algorithms - needed to align the deployed telescope into a high-performance astronomical telescope have been designed and demonstrated on the testbed.

For more technical information on the wavefront sensing and control testing process, please view the article in Newsletter #2.

A few additional photos fully functional, 1/6th scale model of the JWST mirror in its optics testbed (images credit: NASA):

JWST Optics Testbed

JWST Optics Testbed

Here are two videos showing the scaled telescope testbed for wavefront sensing and control testing.