Com Dev -- the largest Canadian-based designer and manufacturer of space hardware subsystems -- will build the telescope's Fine Guidance Sensor and Tuneable Filter Imager camera. The Ottawa, Ont., company has been working on the design and engineering phases of the project since 1998.
The Fine Guidance Sensor will track the positions of guide stars, keeping the telescope precisely orientated with a level of accuracy the equivalent of focusing on an object the size of a dime at a distance of more than 600 miles. The Tunable Filter Imager will provide a unique infrared imaging and planet finding capability for the telescope.
The telescope, named for James E. Webb, who ran the fledging National Aeronautics and Space Administration from 1961 to 1988, is to be launched in 2013.
The infrared-optimized space telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.