Following the complete assembly of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, testing teams performed a comprehensive systems evaluation which allowed them to confidently assess Webb’s software and electronic performance as a single fully connected vehicle. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)
by Thaddeus Cesari NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — With the completion of its latest series of milestone tests, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has now survived all of the harsh conditions associated with a rocket launch to space.
Webb’s recent tests have validated that the fully assembled observatory will endure the deafening noise, and the jarring shakes, rattles and vibrations that the observatory will experience during liftoff. Known as “acoustic” and “sine-vibration” testing, NASA has worked carefully with its international partners to match Webb’s testing environment precisely to what Webb will experience both on launch day, and when operating in orbit.
Though each component of the telescope has been rigorously tested during development, demonstrating that the assembled flight hardware is able to safely pass through a simulated launch environment is a significant achievement for the mission. Completed in two separate facilities within Northrop Grumman’s Space Park in Redondo Beach, California, these tests represent Webb’s final two, in a ...