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September 10, 2003 04:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2003-27

NASA Approves James Webb Space Telescope Mirror Architecture

September 10, 2003: NASA today announced a major milestone in the development of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the selection of a beryllium-based mirror technology for the telescope's 6.5-meter primary mirror. The JWST prime contractor, Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach, Calif., recommended to NASA the mirror technology, supplied by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, Boulder, Colo., be selected for the JWST primary mirror.

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Q & A: Understanding the Discovery

  1. 1. Why was the beryllium-based mirror technology selected for JWST's primary mirror?

  2. Northrop Grumman made the recommendation following a detailed process that took advantage of insights from a panel of experts representing the contractor team, NASA and the science community. Two mirror technologies, beryllium and ultra low-expansion glass, were tested, and their implementation plans were thoroughly reviewed during a six-month evaluation. Technical performance, manufacturing schedule, facilities, staffing, and cost were factors taken into consideration.

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Credit: NASA