July 13, 2022

Ball-supported James Webb Space Telescope shares first images

BROOMFIELD — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, with an assist from optical technology and lightweight mirror systems developed by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., transmitted its first images of the universe back to Earth this week.

Webb’s mission is to capture faint light from the very first objects that illuminated the universe after the Big Bang.

“It is awe-inspiring to see these images, which are the culmination of more than 20 years of really hard work by thousands of people across multiple companies, government agencies and academic institutions,” Ball Aerospace vice president of civil space Makenzie Lystrup said in a prepared statement. “These are just the first of what will be exquisitely-rendered and detailed images that will shed new light on the formation of the universe as well as the galaxies and stars within it.”

Ball Aerospace worked with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Northrop Grumman, the prime industry contractor, to build the 25 square-meter optical system that’s made up of 18 beryllium mirror segments working together as one unit, Ball said in a news release. The company also developed the cryogenic actuators and electronic flight control boxes used to keep the mirror segments properly aligned on orbit.

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