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Northrop, ATK Build NASA Webb Telescope Backbone Frame; Gregory Young Comments

Northrop, ATK Build NASA Webb Telescope Backbone Frame; Gregory Young Comments - top government contractors - best government contracting event

WebbTelescopeNorthropBackboneNorthrop Grumman and ATK have built the backplane support frame for the James Webb Space Telescope, a joint project of NASA and the European and Canadian space agencies.

The frame is intended to combine with the telescope’s center section and wings to form the primary mirror backplane support structure, Northrop said Friday.

NASA intends for the support structure to hold instruments such as an 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter primary mirror, beryllium mirrors and other elements.

Webb’s 7,300-pound mission payload will also reside in the support structure.

“The structural backbone of the observatory is now ready for integration,” said Gregory Young, a Northrop acquisition manager.

The backplane’s support structure is intended to be 24 feet tall, 19.5 feet wide and 11 feet deep once fully deployed and weigh 2,180 pounds.

Northrop and NASA plan to deliver the structure to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. later this summer for extreme cryogenic thermal tests.

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