With an enormous mirror 21 feet in diameter and a sun shield the size of a two-story building, the James Webb Space Telescope is a mighty creation which will fully deploy in an orbit about 1 million miles from Earth.
The telescope, an infrared-optimized device capable of peering into the unknown, is designed to examine the intricacies of the first galaxies formed during the dawning of the universe.
From the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy, JWST will turn its penetrating gaze through expansive clouds of space dust to see the stars forming planetary systems in the outer reaches of our solar system. Featuring instruments designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, the telescope was named after the NASA Administrator who drove the Apollo program.
The Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center (ATC) is undertaking the monumental task of building the telescope.
Former Lockheed Martin mechanical engineer, John Camp, created a 3D printing lab to help ATC deliver the NIRCam to the Johnson Space Center and still serves as a guru on ATC projects for NASA.
The James Webb Telescope will be NASA's biggest science mission to date, the largest telescope ever launched, and the first to carry a camera optimized for viewing infrared light, the NIRCam.
"The James Webb Telescope's pictures of deep space will change our understanding of the universe and be much more spectacular than anything we've ever seen before," said ATC engineer, Alison Nordt.
Critical design work for the telescope as it approaches its 2018 launch date is being prototyped by the team at ATC with MakerBot 3D Printers.