Ball Aerospace ships mirror parts to NASA
In all, Boulder-based Ball Aerospace expects to ship the remaining 16 mirror segments to Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland during the next 12 months, the company said in a press statement. Each hexagonal-shaped mirror segment will be used to assemble a 21.3-foot primary mirror on the telescope, the company said.
Each mirror segment cost about $20 million to build, based on costs including design and facilities to support the mirror fabrication, according to Lee Feinberg, an optical telescope element manager for the project who is based at Goddard Space Flight Center.
The beryllium mirror segments are shipped in hermetically sealed custom containers designed specifically to protect them, the company said.
"We are very proud to have answered the challenge posed by James Webb and look forward to this groundbreaking NASA science mission," David L. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace, said in the press statement.
Ball Aerospace is responsible for the space telescope's optical technology and mirror system under contract to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California. Financial terms of the contract were not immediately available.
The mirrors are expected to be added to the space telescope in 2015, according to the press statement. The telescope is expected to be launched into space in October 2018.
The James Webb Space Telescope mirror will be the largest ever flown in space and six times larger than the mirror on the Hubble Space Telescope, which was sent into orbit in 1990. The large, light-collecting area of the primary mirror is designed to view extremely faint targets.
The telescope will be used to study every phase of the universe. It will be the first civilian space-based observatory to use an actively controlled, segmented mirror architecture, according to the press statement.
Ball Aerospace is a division of Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL), based in Broomfield. The packaging company and its subsidiaries employ more than 14,500 workers worldwide and reported 2011 sales of more than $8.6 billion.
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