- NASA's Webb Sunshield Stacks Up to Test!
The Sunshield on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is the largest part of the observatory—five layers of thin membrane that must unfurl reliably in space to precise tolerances. Last week, for the first time, engineers stacked and unfurled a full-sized test unit of the Sunshield and it worked perfectly. The Sunshield is about the length of a tennis court, and will be folded up like an umbrella around the Webb telescope’s mirrors and instruments during launch. Once it reaches its orbit, the Webb telescope will receive a command from Earth to unfold, and separate the Sunshield's five layers into their precisely stacked arrangement with its kite-like shape. The Sunshield test unit was stacked and expanded at a cleanroom in the Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, California. The Sunshield separates the observatory into a warm sun-facing side and a cold side where the sunshine is blocked from interfering with the sensitive infrared instruments. The infrared instruments need to be kept very cold (under 50 K or -370 degrees F) to operate. The Sunshield protects these sensitive instruments with an effective sun protection factor or SPF of 1,000,000 (suntan lotion generally has an SPF of 8-50). In addition to providing a cold environment, the Sunshield provides a thermally stable environment. This stability is essential to maintaining proper alignment of the primary mirror segments as the telescope changes its orientation to the sun. The James Webb Space Telescope is the successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. For more information about the Webb telescope, visit: www.jwst.nasa.gov or www.nasa.gov/webb For more information on the Webb Sunshield, visit: http://jwst.nasa.gov/sunshield.html Photo Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn Rob Gutro NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Category Archives: Economics
So how’s that for a headline? That one get your alarmist hackles up? It should. A friend of mine quoted The Economist this morning and it kind of sent my blood pressure up: The Economist on the government shutdown. Key … Continue reading
Well the whole Fiscal Cliff issue has been deferred for two months. Then we will see what happens. In the meantime, Roberta X has boiled the entire issue down to a couple of well written paragraphs. The money lines: This … Continue reading
A friend of mine threw a link to this article up on Facebook earlier. I started to comment on it, and it rapidly grew into a rant. So, I thought I would clean it up a little and make it … Continue reading
Some interesting numbers that are pulled together from multiple sources today over at Hot Air. The article supports the position that our “Fiscal Cliff” is not going to be solved by revenue increases. Go read it, and then my comments make sense. … Continue reading
Well, it appears as if there are some new developments going in on the Continent, that unfortunately appear to be old actions being resurrected for the 21st Century. Let’s take a look at the highlights of recent events: Greece continues to have widespread protests … Continue reading
An interesting snippet from Bill Whittle today, that brings us Rudyard Kipling’s wisdom and observations from 100 years ago. Take six minutes to watch.
The death of a brand. I have commented previously, probably multiple times, that unions have outlived their usefulness. There was a dark time in our history where unions were vital to the growth of the economy and industry. Unions were … Continue reading
Any interesting analysis on the current economic situation in the US. This one focuses on the velocity of M1 and M2. Break out your econ books, and dust off those facts and terms from where all that knowledge that you … Continue reading
A couple of interesting things beginning to show up in Europe lately. Item 1: Item 2 maybe more prophetic (whole story here and here): This morning’s Der Spiegel (Germany) has a real doozy worth paying attention to. – The … Continue reading