NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope begins cryogenic testing


NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope began a nearly 100-day cryogenic test in a giant chamber in Texas last month.

Components of the Webb have previously endured similar tests to ensure they would function in the cold environment of space. Now all of those components are being tested together in the giant thermal vacuum known as Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston.

Vacuum pumps remove nearly 100% of the air from the chamber. Temperatures are cooled in Chamber A by coursing liquid nitrogen and cold gaseous helium through plumbing on the shrouds, which act as heat exchangers. That process drops the temperatures in the chamber to simulate conditions in space where the Webb telescope will orbit.

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