Vanguard Space Technologies (San Diego, Calif.) reported on Feb. 3 that it had been awarded two contracts to provide hardware for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. (HPC focused on the design of the telescope’s Composite Primary Mirror Backplane Support Structure in November 2008; visit short.compositesworld.com/HXbkO42k.) The contracts, issued by Northrop Grumman Corp. (Falls Church, Va.), are for fabrication of composite components of the telescope’s Unitized Pallet Structure. They will be manufactured at Vanguard’s San Diego facility, using carbon fiber-reinforced materials. Delivery was scheduled for early this year.
Under a third contract, Vanguard will produce for Lockheed Martin (Bethesdaa, Md.) the High Gain Antenna (HGA) reflector for another NASA mission spacecraft, the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx. Vanguard delivered a similar HGA to Lockheed Martin for NASA’s recently successful launch of the MAVEN spacecraft. Delivery of the OSIRIS-REx HGA to Lockheed Martin is scheduled for July of this year.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will study an asteroid that is expected to pass near the Earth. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2016 and rendezvous with the asteroid, known as 1999 RQ36, and ultimately bring back samples to Earth. The asteriod samples will be the first for a U.S. mission and might hold clues to the origin of the solar system or the development of life forms on Earth.