Strong and Steady - Behind the Webb Episode 28
In this episode of the "Behind the Webb" video series, reporter Mary Estacion talks to experts Guenther Kling and Michel Bougoin about silicon carbide and how it was used by Airbus Defence and Space to manufacture elements of the Near-InfraRed Spectrograph, NIRSpec.
The major structural elements of NIRSpec, as well as most of its optical elements, are formed from silicon carbide. This synthetic material, made of a mixture of silica sand and carbon, offers a combination of stiffness and stability that makes it extremely interesting for space applications like NIRSpec.
The James Webb Space telescope is a joint project of NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.
The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is one of four instruments on JWST. NIRSpec is a multi-object spectrograph capable of observing more than 100 astronomical objects simultaneously. It will support JWST's four main science themes by providing low, medium and high-resolution spectroscopic observations.
NIRSpec was built by European industry to ESA's specifications and managed by the ESA JWST Project at ESTEC, the Netherlands. The prime contractor is Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (formerly EADS Astrium GmbH) in Ottobrunn, Germany. The NIRSpec detector and microshutter array (MSA) subsystems are provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.