Banner
Special Reports

Mirror images

By Abbe Miller

September 2009 - Without fail, NASA posts a new picture on its Astronomy Picture of the Day Web site, every day of every week. The images are of celestial formations both beautiful to behold and difficult to comprehend. And visiting the visually amazing Web site is made possible thanks to the telescopes NASA has been engineering and developing for several decades. The James Webb Space Telescope, the newest addition to the NASA fleet, being constructed by Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles, will be launched in 2014. Currently, the construction of its 21.3-ft.-diameter mirror is of particular interest.

The rigors of space
Space telescopes are destined to encounter extremely low temperatures, so the material they're made from must be able to endure that type of frigid environment. And part of a space telescope's job description is to encounter the unknown. Unforeseen conditions require it to be rugged, as well.

The James Webb Space Telescope will don 18 mirrors to capture the magnificence of outer space. Each hexagonal segment will be made of beryllium, a material that's not only lightweight, but also strong and able to hold its composure under a wide range of temperatures. It has one of the highest melting points in the family of light metals.

But melting isn't necessarily a concern for the telescope. It's purported that it will experience temperatures as low as -240 degrees Celsius, which beryllium can withstand.

Making the mirrors
According to an article by Rob Gutro from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., "The beryllium being used to make the Webb Telescope's mirrors was mined in Utah and then purified. The particular type of beryllium used in the Webb mirrors is called O-30 and is a fine powder of high purity. The powder is then placed into a stainless steel canister and pressed into a flat shape. The steel canister is then removed, and the resulting chunk of beryllium is cut in half to make two mirror blanks about 1.3 m (4 ft.) across. Each mirror blank will be used to make one mirror segment; the full Webb mirror will be made from 18 hexagonal (six-sided) segments."

He continues to explain that once the mirror blanks are inspected, they will be molded into a final shape. From there, they will be polished and temperature tested.

And by 2014, they will undoubtedly be contributing to NASA's picture of the day, further captivating visitors young and old with pictures from places beyond their normal reach. FFJ

Read about NASA's current Orion space crew module project in the October issue of FFJournal.

Sources

Banner

Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group EMH Crane Rolleri USA Nidec Press & Automation
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc.

PRESS BRAKES

STEEL

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial AMADA AMERICA, INC. Alliance Steel
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

Automec Inc.

TUBE & PIPE

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies MC Machinery Systems Inc. BLM Group
Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

SafanDarley HGG Profiling Equipment Inc.

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc.

PUNCHING

Prudential Stainless & Alloys
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit Hougen Manufacturing

WATERJET

Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc.

SAWING

Barton International
Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. Behringer Saws Inc. Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

Cosen Saws Omax Corp.
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. DoALL Sawing

WELDING

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MetalForming Inc. HE&M Saw American Weldquip
Beckwood Press Co.

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

Savage Saws Strong Hand Tools
Triform Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

T. J. Snow Company

TPMG2022 Brands


BPA_WW_MASTER.jpg