Behind the Webb Podcast

  • September 16, 2013

    Episode 20: Webb's Shaping Up

    by Mary Estacion

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    Shownotes

    The sunshield of the James Webb Space Telescope is made up of five layers of a specially designed material that includes Kapton, aluminum, and silicon.  But it's not only what it's made of that allows the sunshield to keep the observatory the right temperature to make its observations.  Behind the Webb host Mary Estacion takes us to Huntsville, Alabama, to see how engineers are testing each layer of the sunshield.

    Find out more about Webb's sunshield.

  • June 25, 2013

    Episode 19: Spinning a Webb

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    Shownotes

    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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    Shownotes

    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