Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

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

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by krishnoid on Friday May 04 2018, @09:07PM (2 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Friday May 04 2018, @09:07PM (#675852)

    Does Loctite (or similar) work in this environment? Just curious if it would work or if not, why not.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +1  
       Interesting=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   3  
  • (Score: 2) by corey on Friday May 04 2018, @10:26PM

    by corey (2202) on Friday May 04 2018, @10:26PM (#675888)

    Yep. I worked on a defence product once and they used loctite on every fastener as normal routine for shock and vibration.

    I'm surprised this has made it into the public. They might just be robustness testing it sans loctite which is what we did too. You really only use loctite once you are destructive testing the unit under test.

    Then again loctite might not suit space applications, due to outgassing, radiation etc.

  • (Score: 1) by erichill on Monday May 07 2018, @01:02PM

    by erichill (658) on Monday May 07 2018, @01:02PM (#676629)

    There's quite a few different variants of Loctite. Some of the lower end Loctite will soften in extreme heat or cold. It's possible they need to move to a different version of it. For more extreme applications, they may skip the Loctite in favor of bolts with a hole drilled laterally through the head, and they run a piece of steel cable through the hole to a tie-off point. It prevents the bolt from turning in *very* extreme conditions where chemistry could break down.