NASA’s Webb Telescope Packs Its Sunshield for a Million Mile Trip

Both sides of the James Webb Space Telescope’s sunshield were lifted vertically in preparation for the folding of the sunshield layers. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

By Isabelle Yan
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

REDONDO BEACH. Calif. — Engineers working on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have successfully folded and packed its sunshield for its upcoming million-mile (roughly 1.5 million kilometer) journey, which begins later this year.

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COVID-19 Delays to Cost NASA $3 Billion

High-resolution illustration of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope against a starry background. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will cost NASA an estimated $3 billion due to program delays, according to a report from the space agency’s Office of Inspector General.

The report focused on the pandemic’s impact on 30 major programs and project with life-cycle costs of at least $250 million.

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Space Telescope Delivers the Goods: 2,200 Possible Planets

A newly published catalog reveals a fascinating variety of possible exoplanets detected by TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

By Pat Brennan
NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program

The news is out of this world: NASA’s TESS space telescope has captured evidence of more than 2,200 candidate planets orbiting bright, nearby stars, including hundreds of “smaller” planets – many possibly rocky worlds in some ways similar to Earth.

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RUAG Launches New Brand “beyond gravity”

ZURICH, Switzerland (RUAG Space) — From a state-owned enterprise to a startup – CEO André Wall has set his sights on nothing less than this transformation, in the future RUAG International with solely focus on space. The vision is clear: RUAG International is to evolve into a company that advances humankind and enables the exploration of the world and beyond.

Startup with 100% mission success

André Wall explains the mission as follows: “We want to develop integrated satellite and launch system capabilities with strong partners in Europe. In doing this, we will guarantee our customers 100% mission success. We will be the first startup to combine agility, speed and innovation with decades of experience and proven quality.”

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Completes Final Functional Tests to Prepare for Launch

Shown fully stowed, the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deployable Tower Assembly that connects the upper and lower sections of the spacecraft will extend 48 inches (1.2 meters) after launch. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)

By Thaddeus Cesari
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — February marked significant progress for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which completed its final functional performance tests at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California. Testing teams successfully completed two important milestones that confirmed the observatory’s internal electronics are all functioning as intended, and that the spacecraft and its four scientific instruments can send and receive data properly through the same network they will use in space. These milestones move Webb closer to being ready to launch in October.

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NASA Perseveres Through Pandemic to Complete Successful 2020

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2020, NASA made significant progress on America’s Moon to Mars exploration strategy, met mission objectives for the Artemis program, achieved significant scientific advancements to benefit humanity, and returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States, all while agency teams acted quickly to assist the national COVID-19 response.

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Northrop Grumman and NASA Complete Final Sunshield Deployment Test on the James Webb Space Telescope

For the last time on Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope’s sunshield was deployed and tensioned by testing teams at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California where final deployment tests were completed. Webb’s sunshield is designed to protect the telescope from light and heat emitted from the sun, Earth, and moon, and the observatory itself. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Dec. 18, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and NASA have successfully completed the final sunshield deployment test on the James Webb Space Telescope in preparation for its 2021 launch.

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Completes Environmental Testing

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.

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Ground Segment Testing a Success for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Inside Webb’s Mission Operations Center, Test Operator Jessica Hart is seen on-console at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland monitoring test progress with social distancing protocol in place. (Credits: STSCI/Amanda Arvai)

by Thaddeus Cesari
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — Testing teams have successfully  completed a critical milestone focused on demonstrating that NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will respond to commands once in space. 

Known as a “Ground Segment Test,” this is the first time commands to power on and test Webb’s scientific instruments have been sent to the fully-assembled observatory from its Mission Operations Center at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

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NASA Perseveres Through Pandemic, Looks Ahead in 2020, 2021

SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — With 2020 more than half way through, NASA is gearing up for a busy rest of the year and 2021.

Following the recent successful launch of a Mars rover and safely bringing home astronauts from low-Earth orbit aboard a new commercial spacecraft, NASA is looking forward to more exploration firsts now through 2021.

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Webb Space Telescope Launch Slips 7 Months

Shown with its primary mirror fully deployed, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the largest and most technically complex space science telescope NASA has ever built. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA now is targeting Oct. 31, 2021, for the launch of the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope from French Guiana, due to impacts from the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as technical challenges.

This decision is based on a recently completed schedule risk assessment of the remaining integration and test activities prior to launch. Previously, Webb was targeted to launch in March 2021.

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NASA to Provide Update on James Webb Space Telescope

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)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 4:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 16, to provide an update on the status of the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s next premier infrared space observatory and the largest, most complex space telescope for astronomy ever built. 

The media teleconference audio will stream live at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Participants in the teleconference include: 

  • Stephen Jurczyk, NASA associate administrator 
  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Science Mission Directorate associate administrator 
  • Gregory Robinson, NASA Webb program director 
  • Eric Smith, NASA Webb program scientist 

Once deployed, Webb will help solve mysteries in our solar system and look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, as well as probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. 

For more information on Webb, go to: 

https://www.nasa.gov/webb

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Completes Comprehensive Systems Test

Shown with its primary mirror fully deployed, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the largest and most technically complex space science telescope NASA has ever built. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

By Thaddeus Cesari
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — Now that NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been assembled into its final form, testing teams seized the unique opportunity to perform a critical software and electrical analysis on the entire observatory as a single, fully connected vehicle.

Known as a Comprehensive Systems Test or CST, this was the first full systems evaluation that has ever been run on the assembled  observatory, and one of the final first-time activities the team will perform.

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Are Planets with Oceans Common in the Galaxy? It’s Likely, NASA Scientists Find

This illustration shows NASA’s Cassini spacecraft flying through plumes on Enceladus in October 2015. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

by Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Greenbelt, Md. (NASA PR) — Several years ago, planetary scientist Lynnae Quick began to wonder whether any of the more than 4,000 known exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system, might resemble some of the watery moons around Jupiter and Saturn.

Though some of these moons don’t have atmospheres and are covered in ice, they are still among the top targets in NASA’s search for life beyond Earth. Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa, which scientists classify as “ocean worlds,” are good examples.

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Tower Extension Test a Success for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Technicians inspect a critical part of the James Webb Space Telescope known as the Deployable Tower Assembly after fully extending it in the same maneuver it will perform in once in space. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — To test the James Webb Space Telescope’s readiness for its journey in space, technicians successfully commanded it to deploy and extend a critical part of the observatory known as the Deployable Tower Assembly. 

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