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Keynote: Engineering Discovery: Building NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Start Date:6/26/2019

Start Time:9:15 AM EDT

Duration:45 minutes

Abstract:

Since the invention of the telescope over 400 years ago, humans have been building bigger and more powerful telescopes in a drive to better understand our Universe. With the advent of the space age, we have been able to pursue even clearer images of the night sky through space-based observatories, revolutionizing astronomical knowledge. For the past twenty years, engineers and scientists across the globe have been working on a truly audacious next-generation space observatory. When launched, the James Webb Space Telescope will be the largest, most powerful, and most complex space telescope ever built. Its 22 foot-wide mirror and tennis-court sized sunshield will allow us to look back in time to see the first light after the Big Bang. This keynote focuses on how astronomers’ questions shaped the telescope design, specifically the precision and accuracy required of the telescope and the active sensing and control system in order to perform the ground-breaking science of the Webb mission during in-space operations and on the challenges of building and testing the telescope on Earth prior to launch. Further technology advances in performance, metrology, sensing, and control that will be required for future generations of space telescopes beyond Webb will also be discussed.

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Speakers

Allison Barto

Allison Barto spent 17 years in both technical and leadership roles for the James Webb Space Telescope at Ball Aerospace, where she led the team responsible for both delivery of the optics and electronics for the 22-foot-wide Telescope, as well the overall optical design, verification, and on-orbit optical phasing and commissioning of the Observatory. In 2017, Barto and her team were honored with the Aviation Week Program Excellence Award for Ball’s work on Webb’s cryogenic electronics system.

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