Utah Technology To Aid NASA In Space Imaging Venture

By Elaine Taylor and Taylor Halversen
Utah Public Radio
February 11, 2014

The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch in 2018 and will be the largest telescope ever to enter space.
Credit: NASA

Though the James Webb Space Telescope is not set to launch for another four years, NASA is preparing to assemble and test the device that will be used to observe distant objects in the universe.

Engineers at the Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan have made their final delivery of elements that will be used to direct heat away from vital instruments within the telescope.

Director of Civil Space at SDL, Jed Hancock, says the equipment must be both lightweight and flexible to be inserted into the intricate part of the telescope.

Though much of the job has been completed, there is still a lot of work for NASA to do before launch.

"The thermal links that Space Dynamics Lab shipped to NASA Goddard will be integrated and assembled onto the observatory in the coming weeks and months as it prepares for launch into outer space," said Hancock. "And the James Web Space Telescope is preparing for launch in the 2018 time frame."

Many countries and college campuses across the United States have taken part in the development of the heat-deflecting "links", which provide a continuous path of conduction from the high temperature interior to the cold of space.

"This is certainly the Olympics of telescopes. This will be the largest telescope ever launched and deployed into outer space," said Hancock.

The telescope will use infrared light to provide images of galaxies and planets that surround distant stars.