Lockheed: NIR Camera for Space Telescope Exceeds Expectations
PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 7, 2015 — Lockheed Martin said its NIRCam near-infrared camera, developed in collaboration with the University of Arizona for the James Webb Space Telescope, exceeded expectations during recent testing.
The instrument is the primary science camera on the telescope, and will also be used to align its primary mirror, which is made up of 18 adjustable segments. NASA’s next deep-space telescope is slated for launch in 2018.
“JWST is an infrared observatory, requiring all of the optical components to operate at a cryogenic temperature under 40 K,” said Alison Nordt, Lockheed’s NIRCam program manager. “That’s a significant challenge when you’re building low-distortion optical mounts, aligning optics at room temperature and designing mechanisms to move precisely.”
Lockheed said NIRCam performed significantly better than requirements during the first integrated cryogenic testing program at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. In April, NASA installed the instrument alongside others in the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), which finished cryogenic vacuum testing late last year. The ISIM is next set to undergo vibration testing in 2015.
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- An afocal optical device made up of lenses or mirrors, usually with a magnification greater than unity, that renders distant objects more distinct, by enlarging their images on the retina.
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