With the completion of its latest series of milestone tests, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has now survived all of the harsh conditions associated with a rocket launch to space.
Webb’s recent tests have validated that the fully assembled observatory will endure the deafening noise, and the jarring shakes, rattles and vibrations that the observatory will experience during liftoff. Known as “acoustic” and “sine-vibration” testing, NASA has worked carefully with its international partners to match Webb’s testing environment precisely to what Webb will experience both on launch day, and when operating in orbit.
Though each component of the telescope has been rigorously tested during development, demonstrating that the assembled flight hardware is able to safely pass through a simulated launch environment is a significant achievement for the mission. Completed in two separate facilities within Northrop Grumman’s Space Park in Redondo Beach, California, these tests represent Webb’s final two, in a long series of environmental tests before Webb is shipped to French Guiana for launch.
The next environment Webb will experience is space.