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The new James Webb Space Telescope, designed by NASA, continues to move ahead rapidly with its development, as Northrop Grumman Corporation have recently completed the engineering design of the structure that supports the sunshield and keeps it aligned.
Having passed its Critical Design Review, manufacturing work on the sunshield support structure can now begin. The structure will hold the sunshield in rigid alignment with the spacecraft so that Webb's primary mirrors stay in the sun's shadow and are able to remain cold to detect very faint infrared light.
"This sunshield support structure balances the sunshield's weight and tension so that it remains stable. The spacecraft is the foundation for the entire observatory and it provides the stability, strength and vibration suppression that allows the telescope to operate as designed," explained Andy Cohen, Webb spacecraft manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
Production work on the spacecraft continues to move forward with an initial model recently finished at the company's engineering and manufacturing facility in Redondo Beach. The model has been designed to help with the integration, access planning and development of the project.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world's next-generation space observatory. Webb will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the very first galaxies ever formed and study planets around distant stars, making it the most powerful space telescope ever built.
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