NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

NIRSpec Successfully Completes Cryo-Vacuum Testing

News Feature April 5, 2016

NIRSpec in its final flight configuration in 2015
The NIRSpec Instrument Science Team held a meeting in early April at Goddard Space Flight Center and at STScI to hear of progress toward launch. A highlight was the chance to see the assembled OTE (Optical Telescope Element) in the GSFC clean room. The photo shows NIRSpec IST and STScI staff at Goddard, and the JWST Optical Telescope Element (OTE) is attached to the white object at the left.

NIRSpec and all of JWST’s scientific instruments recently completed “CV3,” the third cryo-vac test of JWST’s Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM).  For NIRSpec, CV3 was the first chance to test our new detectors in realistic operating conditions.  In addition to obtaining critical calibration data for the instrument and detectors, in CV3 we were able to try out a number of operating scenarios that were intended to be like a “day in the life” of the observatory.  These operational tests will help us achieve more efficient operations once JWST is in orbit.

The next critical test for JWST is called OTIS and takes place at Johnson Space Center next year.  OTIS is the first time that JWST’s instruments will be tested while mated to the spacecraft, and thus is intended primarily to verify JWST’s systems and how they interact with one another.

The ultimate test of NIRSpec occurs once we launch in October 2018.  Between now and then we are analyzing the CV3 data to produce calibration files, preparing user information, writing and testing critical operational software, and a thousand more things.  Your STScI colleagues are going to be very busy.

The NIRSpec Instrument Science Team held a meeting in early April at Goddard Space Flight Center and at STScI to hear of progress toward launch.  A highlight was the chance to see the assembled OTE (Optical Telescope Element) in the GSFC clean room.  The photo shows NIRSpec IST and STScI staff at Goddard, and the JWST Optical Telescope Element (OTE) is attached to the white object at the left

Categories : Instruments jwst NIRSpec