Behind the Webb Podcast

  • June 25, 2013

    Episode 19: Spinning a Webb

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    The James Webb Space 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.

  • March 22, 2013

    Episode 18: On the Wings of Webb

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    The 21-foot-wide primary mirror of the Webb Telescope is so large that it will have to fold up to fit into a rocket and be launched to space. Join host Mary Estacion as she travels to ATK in Magna, Utah, where the mirror’s foldable backplane “wings” have been constructed.

    NASA's Webb Telescope Gets Its Wings

  • March 21, 2013

    SXSW Special Edition: Behind the Breaking of a Guinness Record

    At this year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, the Guinness World Record for the largest outdoor astronomy class was broken. Capturing the tension and excitement leading up to the event, this video also shows what it takes to break a world record.