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Lockheed Martin Ships Near Infrared Camera For James Webb Space Telescope To NASA Goddard Space Flight Center



 Lockheed Martin Ships Near Infrared Camera For James Webb Space Telescope To
                       NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

PR Newswire

PALO ALTO, Calif., July 25, 2013

 

PALO ALTO, Calif., July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT],
under a contract from the University of Arizona, has completed assembly and
testing of the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and has shipped the instrument to
the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. NIRCam is the prime
near-infrared imaging instrument for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA's next-generation space observatory and
successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The most powerful space telescope
ever built, JWST will observe the most distant objects in the universe,
provide images of the very first galaxies ever formed, provide insight to how
solar systems evolve and help explore planets around distant stars. The Webb
telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the
Canadian Space Agency.

The University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin are responsible for the NIRCam
instrument design (Optical, Mechanical, Structural, Thermal, Electronic,
Precision Mechanisms and Control Software) as well as the instrument control
and focal plane electronics and software.  In addition to Lockheed Martin and
the University of Arizona, the NIRCam team comprises Teledyne Imaging Sensors
of Camarillo, Calif. and a team of science co-investigators.

"It is very satisfying to have completed assembly and testing of this
magnificent astrophysical instrument," said Jeff Vanden Beukel, Lockheed
Martin NIRCam program director at the Advanced Technology Center. "We all feel
privileged to have worked on this mission and look forward to the day when our
engineering and manufacturing efforts will help produce discoveries yielding a
greater understanding of the Universe."

"As we view the Universe with more powerful tools, not only do we confirm or
overturn current concepts, but we always learn new and exciting things," said
Dr. Marcia Rieke of the University of Arizona and NIRCam principal
investigator. "I couldn't be happier that we've reached this milestone. I'm
certain that all of the hard work and terrific collaboration of the NIRCam
team will lead to a very big payoff not too far down the line."

NIRCam will detect light from the earliest stars and galaxies in the process
of formation; young stars in the Milky Way; physical and chemical properties
of planets orbiting other stars; and objects within our Solar System. The
camera is equipped with coronagraphs, (instruments that allow astronomers to
take pictures of very faint objects around a central bright object, like
planets around distant stars.) The NIRCam coronagraphs work by blocking a
brighter object's light, making it possible to view the dimmer object nearby –
just as shielding the sun from your eyes with a hand allows you to focus on
the view in front of you. Astronomers hope to determine the characteristics of
planets orbiting nearby stars. NIRCam is not only a science camera, but also
the wavefront sensor responsible for keeping the telescope mirrors in phase
and focused for all the other science instruments.  

The NIRCam instrument consists of two identical optical imaging modules and
contains focal plane assemblies (FPA) assembled at the University of Arizona
using detectors provided by Teledyne. The FPA hardware consists of 40 million
pixels, and is designed for cryogenic operation at 35 Kelvin, or approximately
-400 degrees Fahrenheit. The FPA hardware requires regulated power, output
data synchronization, temperature control and operational mode controls as
well as image data conditioning, amplification and digitization. The NIRCam
focal plane electronics (FPE) and its associated software will provide these
functions. The FPE hardware and software also convey the image data to the
JWST integrated science instrument module command and data handling
computer.    

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center manages the JWST project. Principal
Investigators under contract to NASA, ESA, and CSA are developing scientific
instruments for the observatory. The Space Telescope Science Institute in
Baltimore, Md. is developing the ground system for the mission and will be
responsible for observatory operations and science program management.

NIRCam is one of the scientific instruments managed by Lockheed Martin's Civil
Space line of business. The instrument was designed and built at the ATC in
Palo Alto, Calif. The ATC is the research and development organization of
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC). LMSSC, a major operating unit
of Lockheed Martin Corporation, designs and develops, tests, manufactures and
operates a full spectrum of advanced-technology systems for national security
and military, civil government and commercial customers. Chief products
include human space flight systems; a full range of remote sensing,
navigation, meteorological and communications satellites and instruments;
space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft; laser radar; ballistic
missiles; missile defense systems; and nanotechnology research and
development.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and
aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is
principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture,
integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and
services.  The Corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

Media Contact:  Buddy Nelson, (510) 797-0349; e-mail, buddy.nelson@lmco.com

SOURCE Lockheed Martin

Website: http://www.lockheedmartin.com
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