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This Massive Chamber Is A Space Simulator For Spacecraft

Illustration for article titled This Massive Chamber Is A Space Simulator For Spacecraft

The James Webb Space Telescope is about to be tucked into a massive space simulator as part of its testing to ensure it can survive the harsh orbital environment. The telescope is the next-generation planet-hunter, intended to check exoplanetary atmospheres for signs of life.

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Top image: Support structure being installed in NASA’s Chamber A for testing the James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/Chis Gunn

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Illustration for article titled This Massive Chamber Is A Space Simulator For Spacecraft

The Integrated Science Instrument Module undergoing testing in a thermal vacuum chamber. Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

We’ve previously seen some amazing shots from the telescope under assembly — a massive spine that will support the entire structure, a sunshield that dwarfs the puny humans around it, and a gorgeous set of mirrors that will make the science happen. Since last time we checked in on it, the heart of the telescope wasboxed up and rotated around to in a gravity sag test, making sure it was structurally sound in all directions, and dropped in a deep-freeze to check that everything would function in the blackness of space.

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Illustration for article titled This Massive Chamber Is A Space Simulator For Spacecraft

The Integrated Science Instrument Module cubed up and spun around in a cleanroom. Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

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But now the telescope is about to undergo a much harsher test: time in the oversized thermal vacuum chamber, Chamber A, previously used to stress-test spacecraft for crewed space missions. It’s now being swarmed by engineers and technicians loading in lifts and structures to support the James Webb Space Telescope for testing.

Illustration for article titled This Massive Chamber Is A Space Simulator For Spacecraft
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A practice version of the James Webb Space Telescope fully assembled prior to assembling the real deal. Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Mega-machines are inherently amazing. Mega-machines that have something to do with space are just flat-out awesome.

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DISCUSSION

spacemika
Mika McKinnon

Once upon a time, someone posted in our discussion section:

English wordy nerds, help me out: we used to name people by their jobs, right? Baker, Fisher, Fletcher, etc. We have two affixes for names of makers, -smith (aerosmith, blacksmith, etc) and -wright (shipwright, wrightly, etc).

can you help me create a last name for a traditional family of spacecraft makers? Like voidwrights or cosmosmiths or something (obviously, those two suck).

Thoughts?

Neat question, but it happened late enough in a thread that it didn't get much attention.

A spammer chose to copy/paste that exact comment here, and inadvertently started a nice convo about it, except with nasty spam-links that I couldn't sanitize without wiping out the whole comment-chain (kiiinnnjjjaaaa!!!). Here's the lost-thread.

AverageOutlier:

Astroneer? Cosmonician? Satellizer? Space Elf?

mrantimatter:

Oh, Voidwright sounds catchy. Steorrawryhta would be the old english version of star-wright, which is pretty close. Voidewryhta would be middle/old english for void wright.

OR so google says.

NoNameUser:

We just call them skyentists.

Other ideas?