NASA's most advanced infrared space observatory James Webb telescope has completed its 100 days of cryogenic testing inside Johnsons Chamber A, a massive thermal vacuum chamber at the NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The telescope's scientific and optical instruments had undergone a series of tests in the thermal vacuum chamber which studied its functioning in a simulated extreme cold airless environment similar to space.
Webb has been designed as an innovation to solve the mysteries of our solar system and to look for distant worlds around other stars. The probe will explore the mysteries of origin of the Universe. The probe mission has been built as a partnership mission of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Bill Ochs, project manager for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said, "After 15 years of planning, chamber refurbishment, hundreds of hours of risk-reduction testing, the dedication of more than 100 individuals through more than 90 days of testing, and surviving Hurricane Harvey, the OTIS cryogenic test has been an outstanding success."
The cryogenic vacuum testing in the vault-like, 40-foot diameter, 40-ton door of Chamber A started with the sealing of the chamber on July 10, 2017. It was unsealed on November 18.
The tests included an important alignment check of the 18 gold-plated, hexagonal primary mirror segments of the telescope and its mirrors act as single monolithic mirror. The test was first of its kind for the Webb as it checked all optical and scientific instruments simultaneously.
The scientists working at the Johnson Space Station were in the mist of their works when the Harvey Hurricane struck the region. The scientists then volunteered to provide essential support for hurricane-affected people nearby.
The telescope is believed to be launched in spring of 2019.