The National Institute of Standards and Technology has used the M48 Coordinate Measurement Machine to measure the four mounts that work to support the Primary Mirror Backplane Support Structure of the James Webb Space Telescope.
PMBSS is designed to support the telescope’s 21-foot-diameter mirror and 5,300 pounds of optical tools and other instruments, NIST said Monday.
NASA researchers will use the measurement data to position the components within the structure before they conduct vibration tests on the telescope’s mirror.
“When you have something like this and bring it into orbit, you can’t go up to space and reposition it,” said John Stoup, a mechanical engineer at NIST’s physical measurement laboratory in Maryland.
NASA plans to launch the Webb telescope in October 2018 to gain insights on the formation of the first galaxies and stars in space.