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posted by janrinok on Friday May 04 2018, @03:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-like-my-car dept.

JWST suffers new problem during spacecraft testing

In a presentation at a meeting of the National Academies' Space Studies Board here May 3, Greg Robinson, the JWST program director at NASA Headquarters, said some "screws and washers" appear to have come off the spacecraft during recent environmental testing at a Northrop Grumman facility in Southern California. Technicians found the items after the spacecraft element of JWST, which includes the bus and sunshield but not its optics and instruments, was moved last weekend from one chamber for acoustics tests to another to prepare for vibration testing.

"Right now we believe that all of this hardware — we're talking screws and washers here — come from the sunshield cover," he said. "We're looking at what this really means and what is the recovery plan." The problem, he said, was only a couple of days old, and he had few additional details about the problem. "It's not terrible news, but it's not good news, either," he said. The incident, Robinson argued, showed the importance of the wide range of tests the spacecraft is put through prior to launch. "That's why we do the testing," he said. "We do it now, we find it now, we fix it and we launch a good spacecraft."

This latest incident comes as an independent review board, chartered by NASA in late March after announcing a one-year delay in JWST's launch because of other technical issues, is in the midst of its analysis of the mission and its launch readiness. That review, led by retired aerospace executive and former NASA Goddard director Tom Young, is scheduled to be completed at the end of the month.

NASA is expected to brief Congress on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope in late June.

Also at Popular Mechanics.

Previously: James Webb Space Telescope Vibration Testing Completed
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to Spring 2019
JWST: Too Big to Fail?
GAO: James Webb Space Telescope Launch Date Likely Will be Delayed (Again)
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to May 2020, Could Exceed Budget Cap
NASA Announces JWST Independent Review Board Members

Related: Northrop Grumman's Faulty Payload Adapter Reportedly Responsible for "Zuma" Failure


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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Snotnose on Friday May 04 2018, @05:59PM (11 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Friday May 04 2018, @05:59PM (#675769)

    When a friend is rebuilding an engine, or putting together IKEA, stop by and sprinkle some extra nuts, bolts, and washers around. Then have a beer while they try to figure out where they came from. If I actually like them I'll let them in on the secret before they start tearing the item down again so they can "rebuild it right this time".

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Snow on Friday May 04 2018, @07:15PM (10 children)

    by Snow (1601) on Friday May 04 2018, @07:15PM (#675818) Journal

    I bought a barbecue a couple years ago. It required some assembly. No problem; everything bigger than a toaster oven does nowadays.

    I had the thing 98% built. All I needed to to was attach the doors to the propane tank area. Easy-peasy. A screw, a couple of washers and a nut. I found that there was no hole in the base-plate for the door to fit into. It turns out that I had the base-plate (the part where the propane tank sits) backwards. By this time my knuckles were bleeding because I have shitty tools and I was pretty pissed off. I thought about drilling a hole for the door but ended up just throwing the doors in the trash. We don't need no stinkin' doors...

    -- Snow

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday May 04 2018, @09:02PM (7 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday May 04 2018, @09:02PM (#675851) Journal

      The grill cover can perform the role of protecting the grill. The door on the last grill I had would come off the hinge during heavy wind with no cover on. Or just come off from swinging it open too hard.

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      • (Score: 2) by Snow on Friday May 04 2018, @09:16PM (6 children)

        by Snow (1601) on Friday May 04 2018, @09:16PM (#675857) Journal

        Look over here at this fancy pants with his grill cover.

        The only thing my BBQ gets covered with is bird shit.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday May 04 2018, @09:23PM (5 children)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday May 04 2018, @09:23PM (#675859) Journal

          https://www.doityourself.com/stry/barbeque-propane-cylinders-weather-safety-tips [doityourself.com]

          A heavy season of rain can cause the tank, and other attachments on the propane barbecue, to rust. Both hot and cold weather can affect gas tanks, as metal expands and contracts with fluctuations in heat. If the weather has been shifting between hot and cold very rapidly, a propane barbecue tank might become cracked or distorted: check the tank regularly for bulges or dents, corrosion, and leaks, and check the attachments for signs of cracks or holes. If these appear, it will be necessary to change the fuel supply before using the barbecue.

          [...] Invest in a barbecue cover, a polythene tent-like material which is draped over the entire BBQ, preventing rain from entering the grill or propane tank and connections. These can be bought at any hardware store, and are a good investment, as they not only protect the tank, but the rest of the grill at the same time.

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          • (Score: 2) by Snow on Friday May 04 2018, @10:00PM

            by Snow (1601) on Friday May 04 2018, @10:00PM (#675875) Journal

            Pro-Tip: Pawn off old/rusted tanks on those propane tank exchanges. You'll never have to buy another propane tank again.

          • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Friday May 04 2018, @10:38PM (2 children)

            by vux984 (5045) on Friday May 04 2018, @10:38PM (#675893)

            Sure if you've bought a Broil King, or Napoleon worth 100s or even thousands you'd be a damned fool not to spring for a $50 cover.
            If you bought a walmart special for $88... you may as well skip the $50 cover and just buy another walmart special when the first one disintegrates. :)

            • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday May 04 2018, @10:52PM (1 child)

              by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday May 04 2018, @10:52PM (#675897) Journal

              A quick search finds some covers at $15-17. You could also use whatever's available, such as a blue tarp (can be bought for $8 at Walmart).

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              • (Score: 3, Funny) by vux984 on Monday May 07 2018, @08:29PM

                by vux984 (5045) on Monday May 07 2018, @08:29PM (#676778)

                Meh...a walmart special will disintegrate within a few years whether you put a tarp on it or not. I think its on a timer. :)

          • (Score: 2) by slap on Saturday May 05 2018, @12:13AM

            by slap (5764) on Saturday May 05 2018, @12:13AM (#675920)

            My grill has quick disconnect fittings on the tanks - similar to the fittings on airhoses. The grill stays in the basement (walk out), and the tanks stay outdoors.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by bzipitidoo on Friday May 04 2018, @09:15PM (1 child)

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday May 04 2018, @09:15PM (#675856) Journal

      Do yourself a favor and get some decent hand tools. It's not that expensive, can be only a few cents difference between a good quality screwdriver and a cheap one. It's sad that so much material, cursing, sweating, and pain and bleeding is expended over such a little difference in cost.

      One way to tell whether a Phillips screwdriver is good is look carefully at the tip after it's been used for a while. Of course, rather know before you buy. However, if the four ridges at the tip are straight, it's good. If they are notched and worn and ragged, it's a bad tool, and will be a lot harder to use. Takes a lot more force to hold a bad Phillips screwdriver on a screw, and it'll likely slip off anyway and tear up the screw head.

      And as for slotted screws and screwdrivers, avoid those whenever possible. The slotted screwdriver is far more prone to slipping off. Just about any other head is better. I once ragged on the local Home Depot for stocking more slotted screws than any other type.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05 2018, @01:53AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05 2018, @01:53AM (#675938)

        Personally, I like to find flathead drivers that fit into Philips screws and Torx drivers for Allen screws.