James Webb Space Telescope

James Webb Space Telescope

Unprecedented Science

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the most ambitious and complex space science observatory ever built, capable of detecting light from the first stars and galaxies that formed in the universe and exploring planets around distant stars.

With unmatched sensitivity, Webb will study every phase of our cosmic history, from the first stars and galaxies that formed out of the darkness of the early universe, to the birth of planetary systems capable of supporting life, to the evolution of our own stellar neighborhood. Much like its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb will unlock discoveries scientists have yet to imagine.
What We're Doing

What We're Doing

Optical Mirror System Provider

Ball designed and built the advanced optical technology and lightweight mirror system that will enable Webb to look 13.5 billion years back in time. Measuring approximately 6.5 meters (21.3 ft.), the primary mirror is comprised of 18 hexagonal mirror segments, each approximately 1.3 meters (4.2 ft.) wide. A set of cryogenic actuators is mounted on each segment to control individual mirror positioning and curvature radius within one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair.

In December 2013 we completed shipment of the finished mirrors to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. To date, all Ball Aerospace hardware has been delivered. We continue to support NASA through integration and test.

We also designed Webb’s mirror control electronics to operate in a deep-freeze cryogenic space environment.  These 22 one-of-a kind cryogenic electronic flight boxes are responsible for aligning the mirror segments on orbit so that they function as one mirror. Each box operates between -405.6 degrees F. (30K) and room temperature to multiplex signals from the warm control electronics to one mirror actuator at a time.

To develop, validate and demonstrate technologies used to develop Webb’s pioneering optical system, we drew on our in-depth experience with space hardware designed for all four of NASA's Great Observatories.

Download this PDF to learn about the Ball-built optical system aboard James Webb Space Telescope.

DOWNLOAD
File Type:
PDF
File Size:
1.43mb

Download this PDF to learn why Ball is an industry leader in providing affordable instruments.

DOWNLOAD
File Type:
PDF
File Size:
4.50mb

Optical Systems

Learn more about our highly advanced optical systems

Hubble Space Telescope

Learn about our pioneering work on Hubble's science instruments