An instrument module of NASA‘s James Webb Space Telescope arrived at Northrop Grumman‘s Redondo Beach, California-based facility Friday ahead of scheduled tests.
NASA shipped the combined Optical Telescope and Integrated Science instrument module from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, after the agency completed cryogenic tests on the hardware, Northrop said Monday.
OTIS was encased in a shipping container dubbed Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road and Sea, transported through a U.S. military C-5 Charlie aircraft to Los Angeles International Airport, then driven from LAX to the company facility.
Eric Smith, NASA’s James Webb program director, said his team will conduct additional tests at Northrop’s Space Park facility to determine if the space observatory is ready for launch.
Northrop now keeps all three parts of the Webb telescope, including the sunshield and spacecraft bus.
The company plans to assemble the three components during the summer to form the observatory.
A fully-integrated JWST system will receive more tests during the observatory-level test phase ahead of the scheduled 2019 launch from Kourou, French Guiana.
NASA leads the James Webb program, which also involves the European Space Agency and Canada’ space agency.
The observatory is designed to study the solar system, celestial bodies orbiting other stars, mysterious structures and the origins of the universe.