Spacey thoughts for today

Roamy here. I’ve been under the weather, so forgive me for a less-than-stellar (heh) post.

There were a couple of media events here yesterday for the James Webb Space Telescope. The mirrors are being tested in the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility, and the sunshield is being assembled.

One-tenth scale five-layer sunshield in foreground, first layer of actual sunshield in background.

IIRC, these are the same folks that assembled the large (20m x 20m) solar sail tested and deployed in Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook vacuum chamber, so they have experience with the extremely thin films. It’s been fascinating, seeing the development of the film itself, the coating, the reinforcement, and joining techniques.

Also, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is going to be falling to Earth in the next few days.

Get ready

About ten years ago, we floated the idea of a Shuttle mission to capture UARS and return it to Earth for study. It had flown at a higher orbit and inclination than the Long Duration Exposure Facility, so there would be more effects from ultraviolet and particulate radiation. Sadly, there was just no budget for something like that, so it will end up in the ocean this weekend.

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