It’s been a busy few months for MIRI, the mid-infrared instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope, since we had our Acceptance Review at the start of the year. The team’s engineers have performed some final tests on the instruments to cross a few final t’s, dot the last i’s, both in Europe on the actual flight hardware and on spare parts over in the US.
My fellow test teamers and I are currently working on the calibration procedures for the instruments, or how to get the best scientific information out of the photons hitting the detectors. That should keep us busy for a few more months.
But the big news, fresh in my inbox, is that MIRI has now been officially cleared for shipping and delivery to NASA. This means that the panel charged with examining all our design documentation and test results are satisfied that MIRI is ready to be integrated with the rest of the spacecraft.
This is super good news for the whole team.
Of course, the further integration of MIRI won’t happen in a day either, and there’s still a long road ahead for the telescope, the instruments and the whole spacecraft before JWST will be ready for launch.
Next Wednesday we’re having a ‘do in London to present our work and our test results from MIRI to an audience of Big Wigs and Important People. A press conference has been planned so expect some MIRI-related items in the news next week as well (I hope). While I have got a little bit fond of Didcot and the Rutherford Labs after so many trips there, it does add a sense of occasion to have this event in a swanky venue in London.
I’ll be presenting the test results from the instrument’s low resolution spectrograph to round off the performance presentations – saving the best for last, obviously. (I kid, I kid.) See you there!