Webb telescope passes key design review

April 28, 2010 at 2:21 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- NASA says scientists have determined the James Webb Space Telescope will meet all of its scientific and engineering requirements for its mission.

Space agency officials said that evaluation was part of the telescope's most significant mission milestone to date -- the Mission Critical Design Review.

"I'm delighted by this news and proud of the Webb program's great technical achievements," said Eric Smith, NASA's Webb telescope program scientist. "The independent team conducting the review confirmed the designs, hardware and test plans for Webb will deliver the fantastic capabilities always envisioned for NASA's next major space observatory. The scientific successor to Hubble is making great progress."

Officials said the project's schedule will undergo a review during the next few months. The spacecraft design, which passed a preliminary review in 2009, will continue toward final approval next year.

"The Webb is the premier next-generation space observatory for exploring deep space phenomena from distant galaxies to nearby planets and stars," NASA said. "The telescope will provide clues about the formation of the universe and the evolution of our own solar system, from the first light after the Big Bang to the formation of star systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth."

The telescope is a joint project of NASA and the European and Canadian Space Agencies.

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