JWST

Chuck D. Bones

Circuit Wizard

Chuck D. Bones

Circuit Wizard
No, I wish. I'll watch the launch online like the rest of the world. I did get to attend a launch from Vandenberg once. For safety reasons we had to watch from over a mile away from the pad. Even at that distance, you can hear and feel the rumble of the rocket engines.
 

peccary

Well-known member
That's awesome, Dave. I have been pumped about this for a while now, excited to see what they find. It's hard to imagine that the Hubble is over 30 years old now and still gives some amazing information. I can't even imagine how much more we'll be able to see with a telescope a hundred times more powerful!
 

Chuck D. Bones

Circuit Wizard
That’s amazing! I read that it was such a complicated project to put together with lots of moving parts. What did you work on?
Mostly I worked on the cryocooler system for the MIRI instrument. It cools the detector down to 6K, which is -267°C or -449°F. It has to be that cold to be able to detect the faint IR light from the distant past. I designed the electronics that power and control two compressors that move the He gas that makes the coldness. I managed the electronics engineering, manufacturing and test for most of the duration of the MIRI cooler project, then handed it off to a friend of mine who finished the job while I went to work other programs. I also assisted the propulsion guys with some testing and supported the JWST program office by performing on-site review of one of the suppliers. I literally have my fingerprints inside some of the electronics boxes and on the spacecraft bus (no, I did not touch the mirrors, that would be a no-no). My brother helped build the spacecraft bus and the sunshade. Definitely the most technically challenging space program I've seen. I was lucky to be able to take part in it.
 

bowanderror

Well-known member
Mostly I worked on the cryocooler system for the MIRI instrument. It cools the detector down to 6K, which is -267°C or -449°F. It has to be that cold to be able to detect the faint IR light from the distant past. I designed the electronics that power and control two compressors that move the He gas that makes the coldness. I managed the electronics engineering, manufacturing and test for most of the duration of the MIRI cooler project, then handed it off to a friend of mine who finished the job while I went to work other programs. I also assisted the propulsion guys with some testing and supported the JWST program office by performing on-site review of one of the suppliers. I literally have my fingerprints inside some of the electronics boxes and on the spacecraft bus (no, I did not touch the mirrors, that would be a no-no). My brother helped build the spacecraft bus and the sunshade. Definitely the most technically challenging space program I've seen. I was lucky to be able to take part in it.
That's super neat Chuck, congrats on the launch!

I used to work with those big benchtop FT mid- & near-IR instruments in the chemistry world, and they were tricky enough to set up here on terra firma. We had one of those "high-tech" IR microscopes, but it was basically a single pixel camera setup. Super useful for imaging structures, but dreadfully slow. A far cry from the focal plane arrays you guys are using. Like cave men, we were using liquid N2, and I still remember the moments of panic as the spectra succumbed to noise when the coolant was used up. I also can't tell you how many beamsplitters I killed...

If anyone is interested in learning more about the MIRI instrument & Chuck's cryocooler, check out the links.

It's awesome to hear that we had a forum member working on James Webb, and you should be proud to see your work head down the gravity well. Looking forward to hearing what they find!
 
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