As has been our custom for the last 4 years, we again attended the NASA Mirror Tech Days. As has been the custom of NASA Mirror Tech Days, the workshop has been held at locations that are intimately involved with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). This year the workshop was held at a Northrop Grumman facility in California where the sunshield was being assembled and tested. (This large James Webb mirror was still in Texas due in part to the activities of Hurricane Irma last month.)
The function of the five-layer 40 feet by 60 feet sunshield is to literally “shield” the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) detectors and mirrors from the sun, moon, earth. This shielding is critical since all of the JWST detectors and mirrors need to operate at temperatures below 370°F. It is exciting to think about a future when our technology could be critical to the operation of next-generation space mirrors.