James Webb Space Telescope Launches with DUNMORE Aerospace Thermal Materials

Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Dunmore’s multi layer insulation films protect the James Webb Space Telescope on its journey to answer the mysteries of the universe.

Bristol, PA, December 25, 2021 – The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled for December 25, 2021 in French Guiana on top of an Ariane 5 Rocket at 7:20 EST. Dunmore is proud to announce the use of Dunmore’s thermal control materials on the outer surface and interior of the James Webb Space Telescope. The JWST uses infrared light technology to capture data from galaxies that formed over a billion years ago, which will help scientists further understand exoplanets and early periods of the universe. JWST uses passive thermal management materials developed by Dunmore, which helps protect the critical mission from various space conditions.

JWST with Multilayer Insulation Film
JWST Camera, Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

The James Webb Telescope was developed by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency. This $10 billion dollar project is set to launch after almost 25 years of planning and development. JWST's objective is to help scientists learn about the early periods of the universe. The James Webb Telescope’s primary goal is to study new galaxies, stars and planet formations. JWST will also help scientists discover and gain an understanding of exoplanets' atmosphere, weather, and seasons, while also looking for signs of past or present life forms.

JWST has many distinguishing features. The large gold coated primary mirror will capture light from the faintest stellar objects, but in order to do this it needs to stay very cold. Even sunlight reflected off the far-away Earth would be sufficient to warm the telescope's instruments beyond optimal functionality. In combination with the tennis-court sized sunshields, the entire structure and all the instrumentation is covered in multilayer insulation blankets to keep all the systems at their optimal temperatures. Dunmore produces materials that can withstand thermal radiation and keep the telescope at 40 Kelvin (-233 degrees Celsius). Without the help of Dunmore's thermal control materials, the telescope would begin to overheat. The JWST journey will take 6 months to reach the Lagrange point (L2) and be in orbit for 5-10 years. Dunmore’s materials must be able to withstand harsh space conditions for the entire time to ensure the telescope’s mission is a success.

“The James Webb telescope brought together the top space agencies and companies from around the world with the goal to search for new life and understand the origins of the universe. We are proud to be a part of the most important scientific space missions of our lifetime ,” said Art Mallett, Vice President of Dunmore Aerospace.

Dunmore is a global manufacturer of engineered coated and laminated films and foils. Dunmore produces coated film, metallized film and laminating film substrates for the aircraft, spacecraft, photovoltaic, graphic arts, packaging, insulation, and electronics industries. Dunmore is a Steel Partners company, ISO 9001:2015 and OSHA VPP Star certified.

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