James Webb Space Telescope Pathfinder Dynamics Testing Gets Vibration Reduction with Minus K’s Negative-Stiffness Vibration Isolators

Supported by six Negative-Stiffness vibration isolators the optical test equipment developed and installed by Harris (formerly ITT Exelis) in the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Chamber A, are “Working out great" said KJ Dziak, Harris Primary Analyst - The isolators are down to their 0.5 Hz normal behavior.

After recent adjustments with the assistance of Minus K, the isolators provided an improvement in vibration reduction on the two primary mirror segments of Pathfinder under test.

The Pathfinder is a non-flight replica of the Webb telescope’s center section backplane, or “backbone,” that includes flight spare mirrors. The first and second cryogenic optical testing of the Pathfinder were conducted in Chamber A at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where the testing of the flight hardware will occur in 2017.

Dynamics testing will confirm the telescope and science instrument systems will perform properly together in the cold temperatures of space. So engineers can keep an eye on the Webb while it's being tested, additional test support equipment including mass spectrometers, infrared cameras and television cameras are also being supported by the Minus K’s vibration isolators.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Unlike Hubble’s single monolithic primary mirror, JWST’s primary mirror is made up of 18 individual, adjustable segments that will be aligned in space. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

"Now that the second test is done, it means that all optical test systems have been checked out.

Lee Feinberg - Webb telescope Optical Telescope Element Manager, NASA Goddard

Minus K Technology, Inc. works with many aerospace and education laboratories for custom vibration isolation systems.  They have manufactured custom vibration isolators for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), German Center for Aerospace (DLR), European Space Research and Technology Centre/European Space Agency (ESTEC/ESA) in addition to the JWST custom isolators for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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