SOFTSHUTDOWN TEST SYSTEM FOR THE JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE

The James Webb Space Telescope is the result of more than a decade of development - and is irreplaceable if damaged. NASA wanted a vibration test system that could keep it safe under every possible circumstance.

A vibration test system developed for sensitive and high-value test articles

Each component of the vibration test system Nasa Goddard used to test the James Webb Space Telescope was reengineered to work in unison with the vibration controller.  Any potential test system failures would result in the controller ramping down without imparting any transients into the test article.   The safety system ensures a transient-free shutdown under amplifier trips,  a PC crash, a loss of bearing oil pressure, or even a sudden loss of 480V power.

Designed for the most valuable test articles​

In your typical vibration test setup the Shaker, Amplifier, Controller, Guidance Bearings, and Slip Table all function independently – yet a failure in any one of them can cause catastrophic damage to a satellite being tested. Data Physics and Team developed a test system where all critical components monitor their own health for anomalies – and all potential failures result in a controlled, transient-free ramp down of the test.

This SoftShutdown system was developed for the James Webb Space Telescope testing, and is now a product offered by Data Physics and TEAM. It provides the unique ability to protect the test article from the typical expected tolerance failures; as well as unexpected failures such as a power failure, PC crash, or hydraulic line breakage.

The testing was successfully executed by Nasa Engineers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD with Data Physics personnel on-site.  Testing was conducted in 2016 and 2017; and included months of dry runs before the James Webb Telescope was actually placed on the shaker.

See Nasa’s video about the testing of the telescope at Goddard Space Flight Center: