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JWST Countdown To Terror 😳


kirkster501
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The best engineers have to know the unknowable and foresee the unforeseeable and I am sure that a lot of folks have done all that they can to ensure success. Space engineering is now a well understood subject but there is still the human factor that can affect the outcome.

Its hard to imagine what it must be like for the men and women who have put there whole careers into this project knowing that success or failure is now just round the corner.

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I just read about a problem called vacuum welding between moving parts in satellites and why designers of such craft hate moving parts and try to avoid them if at all possible.

That's it. No more reading for me till its deployed and working.

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6 minutes ago, Tomatobro said:

I just read about a problem called vacuum welding between moving parts in satellites and why designers of such craft hate moving parts and try to avoid them if at all possible.

That's it. No more reading for me till its deployed and working.

Couldn’t help myself after reading this thread and googled about some of the technical aspects and indeed there are lots of moving parts that need to work. I remember the news headlines after they launched the Hubble “Trouble with the Hubble” 😩

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On 14/12/2021 at 19:12, tomato said:

They’ve deployed and folded it up that many times on the ground, a lot of components must be someways into their working life…

Still I’ll be willing it on next week and through the 30 days of terror.🤞🙏🙄

The thing is, most of the moving parts only need to work once more don't they? Once deployed, that is it.

I am trying to imagine designing and engineering moving parts to operate in micro gravity. Here on planet Earth, gravity can be a big assist- want that big thing to drop into place- release the latch and let it go. Up there at L2, simple things like restraining cords and guys that help with the sunshade could float on loop and cause all sorts of trouble.

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4 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Simply too far away as it will be at the L2 point.

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/webb-l2.html

Thanks for that link!  On a side note, the article is dated from June 2010 and the last sentence reads "...and the Webb telescope will be heading out to L2 in the near future." lol  I guess in astronomical terms, 11 years is a speck of sand.

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9 hours ago, Maideneer said:

I read somewhere that there is no chance to ever do repairs to the unit once launched.  Can someone smarter than me please explain why that is?

9 hours ago, johninderby said:

Simply too far away as it will be at the L2 point unlike Hubble that’s in a low orbit near the earth.

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/webb-l2.html

It is a bit  far away, but i wouldn't call it impossible to send a crew there. From an engineering point of view the spacecraft going there and back in a timely manner needs a fair bit of delta V but not a crazy amount. Somewhere around the range of going to Lunar orbit and back perhaps, and a lot less if the most efficient route is taken (one that JWST takes, which takes weeks). Definitely not an amount that current rockets wouldn't be capable of. Being so far from Earth will mean that the magnetosphere is no longer there to prevent the crew from possible coronal mass ejections which would probably kill the crew, but this issue must be solved one day if a Mars mission were to be even considered.

I could definitely see a JWST maintenance mission being a convenient excuse to practice further than LEO operations for crews. But of course NASA is not going to be interested in the idea if the mission fails so for now its "no chance".

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It would definitely not cost billions to send a repair crew since little new tech would be required. Maybe a modified SpaceX dragon with a radiation shielded habitation module in tow would be enough. Although that's not the NASA way, the true NASA way is to spend as much money as possible and develop everything from scratch, even if alternatives exist so it could very well be billions in that case.

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12 hours ago, ONIKKINEN said:

It would definitely not cost billions to send a repair crew since little new tech would be required. Maybe a modified SpaceX dragon with a radiation shielded habitation module in tow would be enough. Although that's not the NASA way, the true NASA way is to spend as much money as possible and develop everything from scratch, even if alternatives exist so it could very well be billions in that case.

Wait two years or so and Mr Musk's Starship would likely be up to the job. Hopefully that's not required. I would not want to be one of those JWST engineers waiting for everything to work perfectly!

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12 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Wait two years or so and Mr Musk's Starship would likely be up to the job. Hopefully that's not required. I would not want to be one of those JWST engineers waiting for everything to work perfectly!

I stand at home with a twitching sphincter every time I flick the switch after doing minor electrical repairs praying that I have been successful. I dread to think how the team will feel watching the launch then waiting for the telescope to send the signals that say "Yay, and verily thrice Yay! All widgets, woggles, lousepoodles and flanges have successfully deployed are working A OK."

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On 17/12/2021 at 14:36, Swoop1 said:

I stand at home with a twitching sphincter every time I flick the switch after doing minor electrical repairs praying that I have been successful. I dread to think how the team will feel watching the launch then waiting for the telescope to send the signals that say "Yay, and verily thrice Yay! All widgets, woggles, lousepoodles and flanges have successfully deployed are working A OK."

We all feel like that after electrical work mate 🤣

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4 hours ago, kirkster501 said:

We all feel like that after electrical work mate 🤣

Definitely. Only the other day I had my fingers crossed whilst re-booting a scada panel after a repair.

Edited by Chefgage
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37 minutes ago, Jonk said:

Exciting!

Isn't it just!   

I hope NASA will pull the plug on the launch if there is any doubt and that they do not feel compelled to launch it for "not-another-delay" embarrassment avoidance motives. After all this time, a few more weeks is not a big deal.

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