ATK Hands NASA Webb Telescope Backplane Support Structure for Thermal Tests; David Shanahan Comments

WebbTelescopeNorthropBackboneATK has sent an assembly stand to NASA for thermal tests later this year as part of preparations for the planned 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

The company built the primary mirror backplane support structure under a subcontract with Northrop Grumman and designed the structure to carry meteorological tools and payloads for space missions, ATK said Thursday.

Tests will occur at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center this year and at a Northrop plant in California next year.

“ATK has enjoyed teaming with NASA and Northrop Grumman on the Webb Telescope program,” said David Shanahan, ATK space components division vice president and general manager.

The backplane support structure contains materials intended to meet thermal stability and weight requirements for the telescope, a joint initiative of NASA and the space agencies of Canada and Europe.

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