Huntsville company contributes to Webb Space Telescope

NeXolve’s sunshield technology is protecting it from extreme heat in space

NeXolve ran numerous tests on its sunshield before it was deployed to space. Photo courtesy of NeXolve.

A Huntsville company’s sunshield technology is helping to protect NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope from extreme heat in space while it captures images never seen before.

The Webb telescope is equipped with tools including NeXolve’s sunshield layers. The telescope was launched in December 2021, and the world is seeing photos from it this week.

The NeXolve sunshield cools down the telescope to help it capture the detailed images of the early universe.

“Our team at NeXolve has been celebrating each step in the complex deployment sequence and calibration required to prepare the telescope for its science mission,” said NeXolve President Jim Moore. “We are proud to have played an important role on the incredible international team assembled by NASA and Northrop Grumman to accomplish this mission.”

The sunshield uses five layers of a polymer film, each thinner than a human hair and coated with reflective coatings, to reflect and redirect the sun’s heat away from the instruments. The sunshield drops the temperature from approximately 230 degrees Fahrenheit on the sun side to around -394 degrees Fahrenheit on the cold side facing the telescope.

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