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Major milestone for MIRI

Infrared camera integration complete

Another major milestone for MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project was successfully achieved when the MIRI Optical Module was integrated into the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) on the JWST.

MIRI Optical Module installed in the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

Connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way galaxy

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) has been designed and built for the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the famous Hubble Space Telescope. MIRI is an infrared camera and spectrometer that will operate as part of the telescope to observe the universe at wavelengths that are difficult or impossible to observe from the ground.

MIRI’s goals are to image the first luminous sources in the universe, determine how galaxies and dark matter evolved, and unravel the birth and early evolution of stars.

MIRI has been developed by a European consortium together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center. Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for the European project management and leading the instrument systems engineering.

All clear for integration

MIRI was delivered to the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), north of Washington DC, in May 2012. Since delivery it has undergone various electrical and optical checks to confirm the instrument was healthy after shipment and ready for integration. All of these checks were carried out without any problems and MIRI was given the all clear to be integrated. Even though MIRI was the first flight instrument to be delivered to GSFC, it was the second instrument to be integrated. The integration took place on Monday 29 April, lasting about five hours.

MIRI Optical Module installed in the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

Next step

Now that MIRI is integrated, the focus at GSFC, the European Space Agency (ESA) and within the European consortium is turning towards the first cryo vacuum test where the instruments and the ISIM structure will be cooled down to operating temperatures and testing will begin to check the performance of the telescope.

Photos © NASA

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