A subsidiary of ManTech International has finished the shape testing of the first sunshield membrane layer of NASA‘s James Webb Space Telescope as a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman.
NeXolve assembled and tested the layer’s three-dimensional shape with laser beams to confirm if it meets shape specifications, ManTech said Thursday.
“We are now proceeding with the remaining layers and will test each layer in a similar manner over the course of the next year,” said Joshua Johnson, lead test engineer at ManTech.
The company said the sunshield system will have five layers made of DuPont‘s Kapton material to protect the telescope from damage while on orbit.
Following the completion of shape testing and model analysis, ManTech said its team will send all layers to Northrop’s Space Park complex in California to perform final assembly and tests ahead of the telescope’s 2018 launch.
The James Webb Space Telescope will succeed the Hubble Space Telescope and collect images of distant space objects.