Northrop, NASA Connect Two Primary Elements of Webb Telescope

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) and NASA have completed linking the optical telescope and spacecraft elements of the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope at the company’s Redondo Beach, Calif.-based facility.

Engineers adhered to alignment requirements to connect the Optical Telescope Element/Integrated Science Instrument Module to the Webb telescope’s spacecraft element through a two-phase operation, Northrop said Wednesday.

The space science observatory will undergo the next phase of integration to prepare for vibration and acoustic environmental testing in 2020.

The Webb telescope is expected to launch in 2021 to explore the solar system and other planets to further study the universe’s origin. NASA leads the program in collaboration with the space agencies of Canada and Europe.

The milestone came three months after Northrop and NASA completed the thermal vacuum testing of the telescope’s spacecraft element.

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