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Webb Space Telescope Closer to Taking Flight

Senator Jim Webb

After a lengthy process, Northrop Grumman has announced the first primary mirror segment of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has met flight specifications at ambient temperatures.

“This milestone marks the culmination of an intensive six-year manufacturing effort, ” said Scott Willoughby, Webb telescope Program Manager for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector. “To produce unmatched precision optics, the manufacturing team has worked extremely hard, inventing systems and processes along the way to meet tremendously rigorous specifications.”

The mirror segment, an engineering development unit, was successfully polished to an accuracy of less than 20 nanometers, or smaller than a millionth of an inch. The success means that by using a process called cryo-null figuring, the mirror when operating in cryogenic temperatures, will change its shape into the precise optical prescription needed for its mission.

The telescope’s namesake, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), will be speaking to the Potomac Officers Club Thursday, February 4.  To register Click Here.

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