NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

MERC contributes to NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

Client: NASA
Location: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

MERC Contributions:

  • Spacecraft Electronics
  • Structural Design
  • Integration & Test
  • Systems Engineering
  • Structural Analysis
  • See our JWST White Paper
More Information

Currently in development with an anticipated launch date of October 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), will be the premier observatory of the future for astronomers worldwide. Orbiting the sun nearly a million miles from Earth, it plans to study all aspects of the history of our universe, dating back 13.5 billion years, including the Big Bang, the formation of galaxies and solar systems capable of supporting life, and the evolution of our own Solar System.

Initiated together between multiple international space agencies and being developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the telescope boasts a large 6.5-meter-diameter primary mirror made up of 18 separate segments that unfold and adjust to shape after launch, a collecting area nearly 5x larger than the Hubble. There is a five-layer sunshield the size of a tennis court that reduces heat from the Sun more than a million times, as well as a cryocooler to keep instruments at the optimal operating temperature. Offering unprecedented resolution well as a first-time view of the universe in infrared, the JWST will change the way scientists see and understand nearly all aspects of our vast world beyond Earth.

Recent Spacecraft Projects