James Webb Space Telescope Begins to Take Shape at Goddard

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is starting to come together. A major component of the telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module structure, recently arrived at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. for testing in the Spacecraft Systems Development and Integration Facility.

The Integrated Science Instrument Module, or ISIM, is an important component of the Webb telescope. The ISIM includes the structure, four scientific instruments or cameras, electronics, harnesses, and other components.

The ISIM structure is the "backbone" of the ISIM. It is similar to the chassis of a car. Just as a car chassis provides support for the engine and holds other components, the ISIM Structure supports and holds the four Webb telescope science instruments : the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) and the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS). Each of these instruments were created and assembled by different program partners around the world.

When fully assembled, the ISIM will be the size of a small room with the structure acting as a skeleton supporting all of the instruments. Ray Lundquist, ISIM Systems Engineer, at NASA Goddard, commented that "The ISIM structure is truly a one-of-a-kind item. There is no second ISIM being made."

Before arriving at Goddard, the main ISIM structure – a state of the art, cryogenic-compatible, optical structure was designed by a team of engineers at Goddard, and assembled by Alliant Techsystems (ATK) at its Magna, Utah facility. That's the same facility where the Webb Telescope's Backplane is also being assembled.

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