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Screws and Washers Have Fallen Off JWST Amid Testing and Independent Review

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-05-04 12:24:05
Hardware

JWST suffers new problem during spacecraft testing [spacenews.com]

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 [wikipedia.org] in late June.

Also at Popular Mechanics [popularmechanics.com].

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

Related: Northrop Grumman's Faulty Payload Adapter Reportedly Responsible for "Zuma" Failure [soylentnews.org]


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