Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The James Webb Space Telescope continues to undergo testing at NASA facilities in Greenbelt, Md., in preparation for its scheduled 2018 launch.
Having recently completed the environmental portion of its vibrational testing, the telescope is soon to undergo the acoustic testing phase. This week, NASA engineers and officials moved the telescope into the acoustic test chamber at Goddard Space Space Flight Center, a room enclosed by insulated steel doors almost a foot thick.
Inside the chamber, the telescope will be subjected to "earsplitting" noise, replicating the acoustic vibrations generated during liftoff.
When its scientific mission begins, the James Webb Telescope will be the most powerful space telescope in operation.
The telescope's mirror was completed last fall. Prior to the latest testing phase, scientists had to use sophisticated imaging technology to measure the mirror's dimensions. The measurements will be used to ensure the telescope's precise dimensions are unaffected by the vibrational tests.
This week, NASA announced the discovery of several Earth-sized exoplanets -- prime targets for atmospheric analysis and the search for life. Scientists said the James Webb Space Telescope will be instrumental in uncovering the secrets of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system.