Northrop Grumman and ATK have completed construction of a section of the structural component that will hold the mirrors in place for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the agency announced Tuesday.
The companies completed the center section of the backplane structure that will fly on the telescope and support its beryllium mirrors, instruments, thermal control systems and other hardware.
Northrop designed and developed Webb’s telescope, sunshield and spacecraft and ATK manufactured related parts used in the center section, NASA said.
The center section serves as the primary mirror backplane support structure and will hold Webb’s primary mirror.
NASA said the center section is the first of three to be complete that will comprise the entire backplane.
The center section weighs 500 pounds and meets unprecedented thermal stability requirements, according to NASA.
The section will align the telescope’s optics through the launch and mission and can withstandi temperatures as low as negative 406 degrees, the agency said.
The system keeps 18 primary mirror segments in place in order to form a singe shape to capture sharp images.
A Lockheed Martin team said earlier in April that it had finished assembling the near-infrared imaging camera to be used on the telescope.