TenCate delivers composites for sunshield deployment structure of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
High performance composites from TenCate in Fairfield, are used to manufacture the mid-boom sunshield deployment structure of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, world’s premier astrophysics observatory.
The launch of this telescope is planned for 2018 and it’s job will be to find the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Webb will peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own Solar System. Webb’s instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range.
TenCate provided the pre-impregnated composite materials under contract to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and its business unit Astro Aerospace, which recently completed fabrication of the sunshield deployable mid booms composite tubes for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. These high performance materials become an even stiffer structure as they are loaded.
Michael Cichon, Director of Product Marketing of TenCate Advanced Composites USA explains:
TenCate is the leading supplier of composite prepregs to the North American satellite industry. The high performance composites utilised on these sunshield tubes or masts that deploy the tennis court-sized sunshield are more than twice as stiff as advanced composites used on commercial aircraft. Equally important, these composite materials must perform reliability in space under harsh thermal cycling conditions.
The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) is a large, infrared-optimised space telescope named after the NASA Administrator who crafted the Apollo program. You can watch the telescope being built on the James Web Telescope Site