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’s James Webb Space Telescope Emerges Successfully from Final Thermal Vacuum Test

Technicians and engineers needed to take special precautions when preparing, and transporting Webb’s spacecraft element for entry into Northrop Grumman’s environmental testing chambers. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

LOS ANGELES (NASA PR) — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has successfully cleared another critical testing milestone, taking this ambitious observatory one step closer to its 2021 launch. The spacecraft has gone through its final thermal vacuum test meant to ensure that its hardware will function electronically in the vacuum of space, and withstand the extreme temperature variations it will encounter on its mission.

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