October 2, 2023

Another Milestone! Webb Space Telescope Completes First Multi-Instrument Alignment

April 2, 2022

As soon as MIRI totally cools to its cryogenic operating temperature in the weeks ahead, a second multi-instrument alignment will happen to make last modifications to the instruments and mirrors if required. When the telescope is totally aligned and able to deliver concentrated light to each instrument, a key decision meeting will take place to verify completion of aligning the James Webb Space Telescope. The team will then transition from positioning efforts to commissioning each instrument for scientific operations, which are anticipated to start this summer.

NASAs James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Northrup Grumman
The sixth phase of lining up NASAs James Webb Space Telescopes mirrors to its scientific instruments so they will produce the most precise and focused images possible has actually concluded. While the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) continues its cooldown, optics teams have effectively aligned the rest of the observatorys onboard instruments to Webbs mirrors. Previous positioning efforts were so accurate that the group concluded no extra changes to the secondary mirror are essential until the seventh and final stage, which will include MIRI when it has actually totally cooled.
” As a general rule, the commissioning procedure begins with coarse corrections and then moves into fine corrections. The early secondary mirror coarse corrections, however, were so effective that the great corrections in the very first iteration of Phase Six were unneeded,” stated Chanda Walker, Webb wavefront picking up and control researcher, Ball Aerospace. “This accomplishment was because of several years of planning and fantastic teamwork among the wavefront sensing group.”
Throughout most of the positioning procedure, Webbs 18 hexagonal mirrors and secondary mirror were focused into positioning to the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument just. Upon completing this newest step, the observatory is now aligned to the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), the Near-Infrared Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), and the Near-Infrared Spectrometer (NIRSpec) as well as NIRCam.