6 March 2012

TenCate Advanced Composites delivers high performance composites for sunshield deployment structure of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

High performance composites from TenCate Advanced Composites in Fairfield (California), USA, are utilized in the manufacture of the mid-boom sunshield deployment structure of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, world’s premier astrophysics observatory. The launch of this telescope is planned for 2018.

TenCate Advanced Composites provided pre-impregnated composite materials under contract to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and its business unit Astro Aerospace, which recently completed fabrication of the sunshield deployable mid booms composite tubes for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. These high performance materials become an even stiffer structure as they are loaded. 

Michael Cichon, Director of Product Marketing of TenCate Advanced Composites USA explains: ‘TenCate is the leading supplier of composite prepregs to the North American satellite industry. The high performance composites utilized on these sunshield tubes or masts that deploy the tennis court-sized sunshield are more than twice as stiff as advanced composites used on commercial aircraft. Equally important, these composite materials must perform reliability in space under harsh thermal cycling conditions.’

Premier astrophysics observatory
The James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared observatory that will look back in time to 13.5 billion years ago when stars, galaxies and planets were formed in the early universe. Slated for launch in 2018, this NASA telescope is the world’s premier astrophysics observatory and is expected to make unprecedented discoveries about the cosmos. The sunshield’s role is to provide a thermally stable environment for the telescope’s primary mirror and instruments. The sunshield mid-boom tubes utilize proprietary RS-3C cyanate ester-based composite materials of TenCate and TenCate Cetex® thermoplastic composites.

TenCate Advanced Composites North America 
Morgan Hill (California), United States of America, Tuesday 6 March 2012 
Download: 120306 Press release TenCate Advanced Composites concerning TenCate materials on James Webb Telescope NASA.pdf
Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)