NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a 6.6m diameter, segmented, deployable telescope for cryogenic IR space astronomy. The JWST Observatory architecture includes the Optical Telescope Element (OTE) and the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) element which contains four science instruments (SIs). Prior to integration with the spacecraft, the JWST optical assembly is put through rigorous launch condition environmental testing. This work reports on the metrology operations conducted to measure changes in subassembly alignment, including the primary mirror segments, the secondary mirror to its support structure, the tertiary mirror assembly to the backplane of the telescope and ISIM.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a 6.5m diameter, segmented, deployable telescope for cryogenic IR space astronomy. The JWST Observatory architecture includes the Primary Mirror Backplane Support Structure (PMBSS) and Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) Electronics Compartment (IEC) which is designed to integrate to the spacecraft bus via six cup/cone interfaces. Prior to integration to the spacecraft bus, the JWST observatory must undergo environmental testing, handling, and transportation. Multiple fixtures were developed to support these tasks including the vibration fixture and handling and integration fixture (HIF). This work reports on the development of the nominal alignment of the six interfaces and metrology operations performed for the JWST observatory to safely integrate them for successful environmental testing.
The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and its partners have broad experience in the alignment of flight optical instruments and spacecraft structures. Over decades, GSFC developed alignment capabilities and techniques for a variety of optical and aerospace applications. In this paper, we provide an overview of a subset of the capabilities and techniques used on several recent projects in a “toolbox” format. We discuss a range of applications, from small-scale optical alignment of sensors to mirror and bench examples that make use of various large-volume metrology techniques. We also discuss instruments and analytical tools.
While efforts within the optics community focus on the development of high-quality systems and data products, comparatively little attention is paid to their use. Our standards for verification and validation are high; but in some user domains, standards are either lax or do not exist at all. In forensic imagery analysis, for example, standards exist to judge image quality, but do not exist to judge the quality of an analysis. In litigation, a high quality analysis is by default the one performed by the victorious attorney’s expert. This paper argues for the need to extend quality standards into the domain of imagery analysis, which is expected to increase in national visibility and significance with the increasing deployment of unmanned aerial vehicle—UAV, or “drone”—sensors in the continental U. S.. It argues that like a good radiometric calibration, made as independent of the calibrated instrument as possible, a good analysis should be subject to standards the most basic of which is the separation of issues of scientific fact from analysis results.