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NASA Continues to Publish the Space Telescope Umbrella Web

NASA Continues to Publish the Space Telescope Umbrella Web

Engineers activate a file James Webb Space Telescope Refine its power supply system to better handle the actual space environment and cool engines slightly hotter than expected before moving forward Monday with the final deployment of the observatory’s critical sun canopy.

Tightening the canopy’s five thin layers, carefully pulled by robotic cables running through several pulleys, will likely take three days, said Bill Ochs, NASA’s project manager. But on Monday night, three of the five nappies were reconfigured, with the last two waiting on Tuesday.

the spread sunblock It has long been considered one of the hardest obstacles, but “I’m not expecting any drama,” Ochs said.

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The five-layer canopy of the James Webb Space Telescope, seen during testing at Northrop Grumman’s processing facility in Redondo Beach, California.


“I always tell people that the best thing for operations is boredom,” he said. “And that’s what we’re planning for the next three days. I think we all sigh of relief once we reach our fifth level of stress. But I don’t expect drama.”

web, and The most expensive scientific probe It was never built, it was Spear With great fanfare atop the European Space Agency’s Ariane 5 rocket on Christmas Day, flying in orbit around the sun a million kilometers from Earth.

Designed to capture infrared light from the first stars and galaxies that formed in the aftermath of the Big Bang, Webb is very complex. But aside from the slight growing pains common to all new spacecraft, Ochs said the $10 billion observatory is moving into its initial activation just as planned.

“We are still in the learning phase with the telescope,” he told reporters on a conference call in the morning. “All satellites will always be slightly different in orbit than they are on Earth, and it takes time to identify and understand their characteristics.

“That’s a lot of what we’ve done over the past week, as well as a significant advance on the commissioning schedule.”

The telescope’s solar panel was deployed as planned moments after reaching space, two thruster shots were fired to correct the trajectory, a high-gain antenna was detached and pointed at Earth, and two oars that held the diaphragms. The sunvisor was rotated into position.

An extendable turret raised the main Web mirror and instruments four feet above the still-folded sun visor, providing additional clearance and insulation from heat generated by the spacecraft’s electronics. Then a “impulse shutter” was deployed to counteract the forces of light transmitted by the solar wind.

With protective covers folded, two telescopic booms Extended canopy platforms On New Years Eve, he pulled Kapton’s membranes into his now-famous kite shape.

“Obviously, diaper tightening is the next big step we’re taking,” Ochs said. “By the time we are done with the tension of the five layers, we will have eliminated somewhere between 70 and 75 percent of the 344 points of failure discussed before the mission. “

It was referring to the number of non-redundant machines and mechanisms required for countless Webb deployments that don’t have backups if something goes wrong. Everything should just work.

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The artist’s impression of the Webb telescope spanned the entire lens cover and optical system.


A lens hood is needed to block out the sun’s heat, and Webb’s primary mirror and 21.3-foot-wide instruments have cooled to roughly minus 400 degrees, cool enough to record the faint infrared light of early stars and galaxies to light up after the Big Snap. .

To achieve the extremely low temperatures required, each layer must be stretched by motorized cables passing through multiple rollers, a process that also lifts and separates the films to allow spaces for heat to dissipate.

That final effort was put on hold over the weekend to give engineers time after a busy first week of deployment activity, and then to evaluate the performance of Webb’s five-panel solar panel and battery system.

As it turned out, the factory presets that govern the output of the solar panels had to be adjusted to take into account the actual temperatures that Webb experienced in space. At the same time, the telescope was reoriented slightly to cool the six motors needed to tighten the layers of the sunvisor.

Everything is fine and is fine now,” said Amy Lu, a web systems engineer at Northrop Grumman. “The observatory was never in danger, we were never without electricity. … Rebalancing the grid gives us a large margin (against) the expected increase in power we would need when measuring our progress.”

In terms of the engines, Lo said they were never out of range, just a little hotter than optimal. And playing it safe, Webb was redirected Sunday to improve cooling and “now we’ve got quite a bit of a run on our temperature.”

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