Northrop Grumman has delivered the Optical Telescope Element to NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center to support the 18 hexagonal gold-coated beryllium mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope.
The company said Tuesday the 21.5-foot OTE is made of graphite composite materials and is designed to support the Webb telescope’s deep space observation mission.
Scott Texter, Northrop telescope manager for the aerospace systems business, said OTE is one of the four main components of the observatory, which include the spacecraft, sunshield and the Integrated Science Instrument Module.
The company noted that it leads an industry team that works to build the Webb telescope, sunshield and spacecraft.
OTE will be integrated into ISIM to make the Optical Telescope Element plus ISIM structure, which will undergo vibration and acoustic testing as well as optical testing at vacuum and operational cryogenic temperatures, Northrop added.
Northrop said it will work to integrate OTIS with the sunshield and spacecraft at its Space Park facility in California in 2017.
The Webb telescope is scheduled for launch in October 2018 to replace the Hubble Space Telescope.