JWST | Alignment Complete

Webb’s mirrors now direct fully focused light from space down into each instrument. This alignment allows each instrument is capture images. For the next two months, work will be done to commission each of the four scientific instruments. Performance appears better than the engineering team’s most optimistic predictions.

The NASA blog posted 28 April 2022 by Thaddeus Cesari describes the significance of this milestone in greater detail. Images in the post can be enlarged to show the great detail achieved by each instrument as well as the Fine Guidance Sensor. They are impressive. In addition, this one minute video from the blog summarizes the accomplishments.

GOES-T Launch | 1 March 2022

There are 4 satellites in the GOES-R series. Initially named R, S, T, and U, their names are changed once checked out and in position 22,300 miles above the equator. The first in the series GOES-R was re-named GOES-16. It maintains a position above the equator at 75.2˚ west longitude and keeps watch on the Atlantic Ocean basin. The second in the series GOES-S was re-named GOES-17. It maintains a position above the equator at 137.2˚ west longitude and keeps watch on the Pacific Ocean basin. GOES-T is scheduled to replace GOES-S which has a malfunctioning system limiting its performance.

Our son-in-law works for a company that provides important support for the GOES satellites. He extended an invitation to us to attend the March 2018 launch of GOES-S at the Cape in Florida. We posted about that day in this blog entry. We were invited to attend the launch of GOES-T but COVID restrictions cancelled those plans for everyone. Online coverage let us watch the successful launch.

Launches are normally viewed from ground locations. Camera placements can provide dramatic views up close, through telephoto lenses miles away, and with on-board cameras. Our SIL sent a link to us from two camera views in space. The views were from GOES-16 and GOES-17. The images were captured by the two GOES spacecraft at 30 sec intervals. The video lasts 14 seconds and repeats the launch once.

JWST | Sunshield Measurements

Smarter Every Day author Destin interviewed his dad in 2016 who was working on the sunshield layers that were eventually placed on the James Webb Space Telescope. His dad worked as a metrologist who specialized in using sophisticated tools to accurately measure dimensions of products. In this video, several people explain the complex procedures used to measure the sunshield layers and how the data was fit to models and applied to the L2 point in space. It is a fascinating look behind the scenes at an essential part of the JWST. There is one ad break at the 15 minute time.

JWST | Alignment Progress

The JWST team successfully completed the third phase of mirror alignment by tilting each of the 18 segments to produce one image. This set of stacked images will further be refined by adjusting the heights of the segments to within one wavelength of light. This step is called Coarse Phasing. Details of the recently completed processes are here in their blog.