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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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Nose To the Grindstone

Under extreme time constraints, the members of the Hubble Project put in large amounts of overtime to bring the NICMOS Cooling System (NCS) to life.

The Three Parts

A diagram of the 3 main components needed to build and test the NCS.
The Hubble Project team had less than 14 months to build and test the NICMOS Cooling System (NCS) for flight. Most of Hubble's instruments had 5 to 10 years before they were installed in space. In order to accomplish this challenging task the Hubble team was going to have to work fast, efficiently, cooperatively, and put in very long hours.

NCS's first flight into space would be a test itself. NASA requires any type of novel technology such as the NCS to be "space qualified" by operating it in orbit.

The NCS was split into different components to be built by different contractors across the US. The most important part would be the NICMOS Cryo-Cooler (NCC), the heart of the NCS. But along with that, a radiator and capillary loop to expel heat generated by the NCC was devised. Finally, a surrogate or mock-up of NICMOS would need to be constructed to test the NCS. Other electrical components were also developed at Goddard.


More . . .
Principal investigator Judy Gibbon on long hours and overtime.