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The James Webb Space Telescope: how to make sure it works

Dr. BegoƱa Vila Costas

March 14th, 2018


The James Webb Space Telescope is the largest, most complex telescope being launched to date. It includes segmented folded mirrors and a folded sunshield deploying on orbit and instruments with state of the art infrared detectors and different science capabilities operating below 45K (-228 C).
A rigorous test campaign including ambient and cryogenic tests to verify the health, performance and operations readiness in the conditions it will see on orbit is near its completion. We will talk about some of those tests and their challenges as all the observatory components get assembled, covering in particular the comprehensive program of thermal, optical, electrical and operational tests in the cryogenic chambers at Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center. We will talk also about how the telescope achieves the pointing stability required for science operations by using the various components of its Fine Guidance System.