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Machining and the James Webb Telescope

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  • Machining and the James Webb Telescope

    The making of the mirrors for the James Webb Telescope.
    One of the most important components of the James Webb Space Telescope is its 6.5 meter mirror that is comprised of 18 beryllium segments. The mirror is the largest lightweight beryllium optic that has ever been made. Its segments were completed in March, 2007 by Axsys Technologies Inc. at its climate-controlled factory in Cullman, Alabama. Northrop Grumman Corp. is the prime contractor for James Webb Space Telescope.
    Each mirror segment is about 1.5 meters across. Axsys used eight Mitsui Seiki USA Inc. ( www.mitsuiseiki.com) machining centers to produce the segments.
    Mitsui Seiki supplied custom-built horizontal machining centers to produce the James Webb Space Telescope mirror segments. The machining centers combine a massive structure — the column weighs 11 tons, the bed is 20 tons — with the ability to position to within a few microns anywhere in the machining envelope.
    I'm surprised that they're using beryllium, as that's some nasty stuff.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Tuckerfan
    The making of the mirrors for the James Webb Telescope.I'm surprised that they're using beryllium, as that's some nasty stuff.
    Yea but you can't beat it for light weight- ridgid- pollishablity etc., etc.
    Back in the days of yore, 1950s, when I worked in the Infrared game
    there were folks doing mirrors and scanners in beryllium. They had to
    work in special shops with lower pressure so there couldn't be any
    dust escape to the sorounding areas. We only used aluminium with
    electroless nickle plating.
    ...lew...

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