Vibration Testing at NASA Goddard Continues

Vibration testing on the James Webb Space Telescope recently resumed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland. This testing is being performed on high-performance equipment provided by NVT Group members Team and Data Physics Corporations.

On December 3rd, 2016, vibration testing automatically shut down early due to sensor readings that exceeded predicted levels. After a thorough investigation, the James Webb Space Telescope team at NASA Goddard determined that the cause was extremely small motions of the numerous tie-downs or “launch restraint mechanisms” that keep one of the telescope’s mirror wings folded-up for launch.

The “soft shutdown” sequence built into the Team and Data Physics systems functioned exactly as designed – gently stopping the test within a fraction of a second of the alarm-level response measurements. This soft shutdown functionality allows interlocks between the Team hardware, Data Physics shakers and amplifiers, and specific customer interlocks to initiate a soft shutdown to the Data Physics Matrix controller, which ramps the test down per the customer requirements. More about this testing can be viewed on the NASA website – NASA JWST Website

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope undergoing vibration testing.

James Webb Space Telescope being loaded onto one of two Vibration Test Systems at the NASA Goddard Space Flight facility. Photo Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Custom vibration test system built for NASA.

Vibration test system at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Vibration testing system at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Horizontal system in foreground, immediately in front of vertical test system.