The James Webb Space Telescope's SunshieldMembrane

A full-scale JWST sunshield membrane deployed on the membrane test fixture at Mantech, Hunstville, ready for a precise measurement of its three dimensional shape. The JWST sunshield comprises five of these layers, each of which has to be precisely spaced with respect to the next.


Credit: Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems


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  • Diego Gravinese 4y

  • Gonzalo Oxenford 4y

    OMG! Sci-Fi!
  • Kevin 2y

    This might be worth a thought
    the sunshield membrane is a bit like a solar sail,
    the Hubble is close to the earth
    and is inside the earth's magnetic field,
    although the James Webb will be at gravity lagrange point L2
    what about solar flares, they are very fast and have a lot of power
    and it is a gravity focus point
    if a solar flare was to go past the earth could it be
    given a gravity and magnetic sling shot like the voyagers'
    and come round and hit the James Webb from the sides above or below,
    the sunshield membrane
    would it then act like a solar sail and push it forward,

    I would have thought that the sunshield membrane would have formed a hood
    covering the back to help protect it,
    and allow for the telescope to move around more and still be protected,

    if a light is shone on the secondary mirror from the back of the telescope
    can it be seen by it's camera ?

    having the sides of the sunshield membrane open,
    might allow the solar wind to bounce around inside
    the layers creating vibration,
    a bit like Hubble's early solar wings when they vibrated
    will they start to vibrate like big drums resonating against each other,
    suggestion extend the bottom bars and bend them up
    and use the bottom sunshield membrane to cover the gaps.
    having them tight could cause them to resonate and the energy to bounce back
    but slack, it would be like throwing seeds at an empty paper bag,

    It's better to think of everything before,
    than find out everything after !

    suggestion for refilling and fixing
    an upgraded Robonaut 2
    with jet pack from the space station and a small ion engine for long trips
    a refill tank for the James Webb and other satellites
    you have fitted the refill point ?

    It could also be used to refill and fix other satellites
    and clear space junk, these could be used for training !
    as well as give NASA an extra income.
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Taken on September 14, 2011
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