The Webb telescope will be launched into orbit using an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. While the launch is a short-lived phase of the mission, it is a very stressful one. Engineers need to make sure the various parts of the spacecraft withstand the forces involved. While it's critical that the various parts of the observatory survive launch, it's also important that the structure does not change shape because of these high stresses. This episode of Behind the Webb takes us to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and its very unique testing platform, where one of the portions of the Webb telescope is being subjected to 1.25 times the launch loads it will see.
Publication: June 25, 2013