March 18, 2013

Cover Story

CEO of the Year

Utah’s business landscape is rich with professionals who have le...Read More

Featured Articles

Did you go Skiing this winter?

Around Utah

Sections

Spotlight
Martin Plaehn

Spotlight
Karen Sendelback

Legal Briefs
Social Media and Employers: Friends or Enemies?

Money Talk
The Case for HSAs

Economic Insight
Time to Show Up

Lessons Learned
Make a Move

TechKnowledge
In the Lab

EntrepreneurEdge
Rent to Own

Business Trends
Back from the Dead

Executive Living
Artful Inspiration

Features
A Breath of Fresh Air

Features
Worst-Case Scenario

Regional Report
Northern Utah

Focus
Measure Up

Industry Outlook
Travel & Tourism

Players
Players

Article

Northrup Grumman and ATK Finish Crucial Space Telescope Piece

Press Release

March 18, 2013

Northrop Grumman Corporation and ATK have completed the fabrication of the primary mirror backplane support structure (PMBSS) wing assemblies for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. Northrop Grumman is under contract to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for the design and development of the telescope's optics, sunshield and spacecraft.

The primary mirror backplane supports the telescope's beryllium mirrors, instruments and other elements during ground test operations and launch. It holds the 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter primary mirror nearly motionless while the telescope is peering into deep space. The deployable wing sections complete the backplane structure while providing thermal stability. Their folding design permits the telescope to fit in the five-meter fairing of the launch vehicle.

"Our ATK teammates have met unprecedented thermal stability requirements," said Charlie Atkinson, deputy Webb Optical Telescope Element manager for Northrop Grumman. "The team has done a commendable job of completing the PMBSS wing assemblies."

Measuring approximately 24 by 21 feet, and weighing more than 2,000 pounds, the primary mirror backplane support structure — which includes the wing assemblies as well as the center section that ATK completed in February 2012 — must meet unprecedented thermal stability requirements. While the telescope is operating at a range of extremely cold temperatures, from -406 to -343 degrees
Fahrenheit, the backplane must not vary more than 38 nanometers (about one thousandth the diameter of a human hair). For reference, if the mirror were enlarged to span from Los Angeles to New York City, the tolerance for error would be less than one inch.

The wing assemblies of the Webb Telescope's primary mirror backplane support structure were designed and fabricated and will be tested at ATK facilities in Magna, Utah. ATK designed and built the 900 composite parts of the wing assembly using lightweight graphite materials and advanced fabrication techniques. The composite parts attach to precision metallic fittings that provide interfaces with the other elements of the observatory.

"The completion of the backplane wing assemblies continues to demonstrate state-of-the-art engineering and fabrication supporting this great NASA program," said Bob Hellekson, ATK's Webb Telescope program manager. "We are proud to be a partner in building this amazing telescope."

The Webb Telescope is the world's next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Webb Telescope is intended to observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the first galaxies formed and see unexplored planets around distant stars. The Webb Telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
Health Care HeroesUtah Business Event
Oct 21, 2014
Please join us, along with our sponsors, MountainStar Healthcare, and Roseman University in honor...
Content Marketing BootcampUtah Business Event
Oct 28, 2014
Please join Utah Business Magazine, along with our sponsor Adobe, for an in-depth, hands-on, educ...
Community Events View All
Utah's Crossroads Conference
Sep 17, 2014
The Crossroads Conference is the largest HR conference in Utah! It offers comprehensive and relev...
Business Succession Planning Seminar
Sep 17, 2014
You've built your legacy. Now don't leave anything to chance. Learn from attorneys and business p...

info@utahbusiness.com  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
Date(s):
to
* Event Description:
  Cancel