Saturday, July 13, 2024

James Webb Telescope glitch made NASA engineers absolutely freaked out: ‘It was very dangerous’


On the science channel special about James Webb Space TelescopeNASA’s director of mission operations, Carl Starr, spoke of two tense days in which it seemed that the mission might have been doomed. The sun-shield covers needed to operate the telescope were meant to be retracted and a switch pressed, telling NASA engineers that it worked properly. But the mission control center never received that notice after the first cover of the sun shield was supposed to have been opened.

“We’ve never seen the switches active, so we stopped,” Starr said. “The next thing was to fire it again, so we shot it again and it didn’t work.”

For the telescope to open properly, hundreds of mechanisms must function perfectly. Starr said they’re starting to come up with ideas about what might have gone wrong.

“Maybe they weren’t all separated,” Starr said. “And maybe it was a little pinched and was kind of crooked like that, and maybe it just got hung up. Or maybe it just got stuck in there somehow. It was very serious. I’m not sure how to describe it, but again, it was calm, and the people became very solemn.”

The James Webb Space Telescope was not without a problem during its development and testing. Encounter the project A 1 month delay In late 2016 due to an unexpected result while testing telescope mirrors. But fortunately, this time it was a false alarm.

Starr explained, “Thermal engineers have come forward with some telemetry, and they’ve said, ‘I’m seeing these temperatures, and I’m telling you the only way you can get it is by not having anything in the way. Therefore, it must be unrestricted. She just didn’t hit the key. “

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It is clear that all the participants were relieved and were able to move forward with the unprecedented task.

“When they told us that and we were getting the briefing, the looks on everyone’s faces, the relief, and then we were able to move forward at full speed right after that,” Starr said.

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Rosario Tejeda
Rosario Tejeda
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