In the news almost daily, the impact of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is now being fully felt and appreciated by astronomers and the public alike. The project, which began in the early 2000s, was designed to be a replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST now sits at the outer reaches of the Earth’s Gravitational Field in an orbit beyond that of any prior space-based telescope. Its mission is to help explore and define the origin of our solar system and unravel the mysteries of the universe beyond by capturing light emanating from the Universe’s formation, 13 billion years ago. With a diameter of 21 feet, JWST’s primary mirror, comprised of 18 gold plated / beryllium-metal segments, is almost three times the size of the Hubble’s 7.9-foot primary.
The JWST is designed primarily to conduct infrared astronomy. The most powerful telescope ever launched into space, located 160,000 miles from Earth–its greatly improved infrared resolution and sensitivity–will allow it to view objects too old, distant, or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope to capture. This is expected to enable a broad range of investigations across the fields of astronomy and cosmology, such as observation of the first stars and the formation of the first galaxies, and detailed atmospheric characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets.
Over a period of 7 years The Photonics Group, a professional recruiting company located in Durham NC that specializes in optical disciplines, was tasked by L-3 Tinsley Labs to find engineers, scientists, and technicians whose responsibility it was to design and develop the manufacturing, assembly and process engineering plans necessary to fabricate and assemble the Primary Mirror. Over that period The Photonics Group placed 25 staff there who accomplished most of these tasks.
R. Bradley & Associates, Inc dba “The Photonics Group” ( www.photonicsgrp.com ) is an Affiliate of WorldBridge Partners ( www.worldbridgepartners.com )