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- The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is an upcoming flagship observatory mission scheduled to be launched in 2018. Three of the four science instruments are passively cooled to their operational temperature range of 36K to 40K, and the fourth instrument is actively cooled to its operational temperature of approximately 6K. The requirement for multiple thermal zoned results in the instruments being thermally connected to five external radiators via individual high purity aluminum heat straps. Thermal-vacuum and thermal balance testing of the flight instruments at the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) element level will take place within a newly constructed shroud cooled by gaseous helium inside Goddard Space Flight Center's (GSFC) Space environment Simulator (SES). The flight external radiators are not available during ISIM-level thermal vacuum/thermal testing, so they will be replaced in test with stable and adjustable thermal boundaries with identical physical interfaces to the flight radiators. Those boundaries are provided by specially designed test hardware which also measures the heat flow within each of the five heat straps to an accuracy of less than 2 mW, which is less than 5% of the minimum predicted heat flow values. Measurement of the heat loads to this accuracy is essential to ISIM thermal model correlation, since thermal models are more accurately correlated when temperature data is supplemented by accurate knowledge of heat flows. It also provides direct verification by test of several high-level thermal requirements. Devices that measure heat flow in this manner have historically been referred to a "Q-meters". Perhaps the most important feature of the design of the JWST Q-meters is that it does not depend on the absolute accuracy of its temperature sensors, but rather on knowledge of precise heater power required to maintain a constant temperature difference between sensors on two stages, for which a table is empirically developed during a calibration campaign in a small chamber at GSFC. This paper provides a brief review of Q-meter design, and discusses the Q-meter calibration procedure including calibration chamber modifications and accommodations, handling of differing conditions between calibration and usage, the calibration process itself, and the results of the tests used to determine if the calibration is successful.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20120013486.
42nd ICES (International Conference on Environmental Systems); 15-19 Jul. 2012; San Diego, CA; United States.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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