Watch Goddard team building the James Webb Space Telescope

Michio Kaku, on Big Think, has posted an entry about the satellite that will serve as Hubble's replacement once it's launched in 2014 on top of an Ariane 5 rocket.

Here's a teaser from that Big Think article:

The main problem with the James Webb Space Telescope is that is going to be over 900,000 miles from Earth, so if it breaks we cannot just send a team of astronauts up to fix it, as we have done with Hubble in the past. Knowing that the JWST will be orbiting in the Lagrange point, we know that the dangers of space lurk at literally every moment of operation.

To combat the extreme temperatures of space, NASA tasked a team of Goddard engineers to create the chassis which could survive both the launch as well as the dangers of outer space. The chassis of the telescope-called the Integrated Science Instrument Module-holds all of the delicate instruments and would generally serve as the structural heart. NASA's Goddard team had to find a material that would be suitable for the job. Well, guess what-there wasn't one. Through a variety of different tests, the team decided that it needed to invent a brand-new composite material by using a combination of fiber/cyanate-ester resin . . .

You can watch, via the "Webb"-cam, the Goddard team building the satellite:

Here's a teaser from the Webb-cam site :

Watch the Webb In Progress on our "Webb-cam"!

We now have two webcams in the Building 29 cleanroom at Goddard, one showing the left side and one showing the right. The screenshots below are updated every minute. The cleanroom is generally occupied from 8:00am to 4:30pm Eastern, Monday - Friday. There may not be much activity outside of these hours.

The Near-InfraRed Camera Engineering Test Unit (NIRCam ETU), the Near-InfRared Spectrograph Engineering Test Unit (NIRSpec ETU), and the Mid-InfraRed Instrument Structural Thermal Model (MIRI STM) are currently in the cleanroom. They are visible near the left side of the below image . . .

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Tags: Goddard, Hubble, NASA, Webb-cam, satellite, unobtainium

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