Protecting the James Webb Telescope

With temperatures in space ranging from -406°F to 260°F, protecting the crucial electronics onboard the James Webb Telescope was critical to its success. Doing so required an innovative solution that could protect its imaging instruments throughout the entire mission. It also needed to be lightweight, thin, and durable enough to withstand the launch and deployment in orbit.

To shield its sensitive electronic components without compromising its image clarity, we designed and developed a tennis-court sized sunshield consisting of five layers of Kapton® E with aluminum and doped-silicon coatings.

During the next five to 10 years, the James Webb Space Telescope will search the universe to study the formation and evolution of galaxies, better understand formation of stars and systems, and study new planetary systems.

” The concept is you have the heat of the sun and the cold of deep space and so Sheldahl’s thermal control materials help everything stay at room temperature, so the electronics can work.”

— Clare Sokup, Program Manager