[ExI] webb is on

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Sat Dec 25 23:37:35 UTC 2021

...> On Behalf Of BillK via extropy-chat
Subject: Re: [ExI] webb is on

On Sat, 25 Dec 2021 at 22:07, spike jones via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> In about 4 weeks this marvelous techno-miracle will be ready to shower us
with digital blessings.
> spike
> _______________________________________________

>...4 weeks is only the journey time.  It will be another six months of
commissioning before the mission starts and results start to flow.
Keep your fingers crossed till then!



BillK, that six months only applies if they made a huge error in
construction, such as... the ground the reflector incorrectly...

Fun aside please, since that six months comment brought back some
uncomfortable memories.  When I was younger than I am now, I was working at
Lockheed Martin as the Hubble was getting ready to launch.  A bunch of us
space types were going to go out to Moffett Field and cheer it on as they
put it aboard a C5.  They told us to show up by 0600 to be sure we were
there when the brought it out of the high bay at the Sunnyvale plant, but
they secretly got the crew together the night before and spirited it away in
the night, so when our club got there, they told us sorry, it was gone, flew
out about an hour ago.  Damn.

They took it down to the Cape, launched it in April 1990.  We expected first
light in about a week, but the first week came and went, then the second,
then the third.  We knew enough about initialization of subsystems to
realize something was wrong.  We began to worry and speculate, but NASA
wouldn't say anything other than they were initializing subsystems.

Lockheed had a weekly company newspaper.  On 20 June, the company paper
published a photo, first light from Hubble, hooray!  I looked at it and
rejoiced!  For about three minutes.  Then I began to realize there was
something wrong.  I could see the pixels, I counted, did the math... the
resolution wasn't right.  I puzzled and puzzled like the Grinch when he
couldn't figure out why the Whos Christmas came anyway.  I figured I would
call my friend Wayne who knew everything there is to know about digital
space photography.

I called him up, about 10 minutes after that Lockheed paper came out with
the ink still wet, I said Hi Wayne, I am looking at this photo on the cover
of the Lockheed Star... he said, Yeah, it's fake.  I said WHAT?  FAKE?
Whaddya mean FAKE?  He said: Aw, this thing isn't even a serious attempt at
a counterfeit, for starters, the resolution isn't right, or if it is, the
distance between those two stars is wrong, the Airy disc should be showing
up on both stars, there is another background object this view should have
shown, the orientation is wrong, there are about half a dozen other obvious
problems with this photo, NASA faked it.  It doesn't take this long to
initialize that system, something is wrong with the scope.

That was Wayne.  He knew everything about astrophotography.  The next day,
NASA announced there was a flaw in the mirror.  So I got the phone with the
Lockheed Star office to find out if NASA faked the photo or if Lockheed did
that, because I would think we coulda done a better job.  I talked to the
entire staff at the Star, but no one would take ownership of that image.  I
never did find out if Lockheed did that or if NASA did it.

BillK, you are right however, it takes some time after they get her into
position to do additional initialization, but I predict it will take only a
few weeks rather than months.


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