The Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has an optical
prescription which employs four triplet lens cells. The instrument will operate at 35K after experiencing launch loads at
approximately 295K and the optic mounts must accommodate all associated thermal and mechanical stresses, plus
maintain an exceptional wavefront during operation.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC) was tasked to design and qualify the bonded cryogenic lens
assemblies for room temperature launch, cryogenic operation, and thermal survival (25K) environments. The triplet lens
cell designs incorporated coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) matched bond pad-to-optic interfaces, in concert with
flexures to minimize bond line stress and induced optical distortion. A companion finite element study determined the
bonded system's sensitivity to bond line thickness, adhesive modulus, and adhesive CTE. The design team used those
results to tailor the bond line parameters, minimizing stress transmitted into the optic.
The challenge for the Margin of Safety (MOS) team was to design and execute a test that verified all bond pad/adhesive/
optic substrate combinations had the required safety factor to generate confidence in a very low probability optic bond
failure during the warm launch and cryogenic survival conditions. Because the survival temperature was specified to be
25K, merely dropping the test temperature to verify margin was not possible. A shear/moment loading device was
conceived that simultaneously loaded the test coupons at 25K to verify margin.
This paper covers the design/fab/SEM measurement/thermal conditioning of the MOS test articles, the thermal/structural
analysis, the test apparatus, and the test execution/results.