NASA Series: James Webb Telescope

Space has always been a sea of possibilities for humanity to explore and grow our ever-evolving knowledge of the universe. In March 2021, that knowledge will begin to grow exponentially as NASA’s James Webb telescope is expected to launch. The telescope is named for NASA’s second administrator, James E Webb. The primary objective of the mission will be to examine the first light of the universe, along with the study of planets and how they evolve over time. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland will serve as an operations center for the James Webb telescope project. The planned mission duration is five years with a goal of 10 years. It is the hope of scientists that the telescope can measure subjects completely in infrared.

NASA Rendering of the James Webb Telescope

The idea of the telescope started as far back as 1986. The project survived cancellation attempts for its launch in July and November of 2011. It was demoed back in 2000, with its full name being granted in September 2002. The telescope was given a prime contract of $824 million in January 2007. The satellite instrument testing would happen between March 2016 and June 2018, with such things as telescope construction completion, cryogenic testing of instruments and mirror and optics installations.

Lenox Laser is honored to have provided the James Webb telescope with precision alignment targets for its mid-infrared instrument (MIRI). Optical scientist Richard Lyon was kind enough to open Lenox Laser’s industrial Institute of Optics first-class. He was working on the telescope in 2011. Mr. Lyon gave an extensive explanation of the telescope, its progress, and the optical science within the telescope. As the founder of Lenox Laser, Joe D’Entremont was invited to see this process firsthand. Lenox Laser wishes the James Webb mission a very prosperous and successful journey. We hope you have enjoyed this blog series and remember, never stop reaching for the stars.            

Lenox Laser will continue with a new blog next week. Now that we have explored our future over the past two months we will explore our past with the story of the Archimedes Palimpsest.

NASA Series: Galileo