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Lab sends pioneering space camera to Nasa
10:40am Tuesday 8th May 2012 in Didcot
STAFF at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Didcot, have packed up a space camera to send to Nasa.
Nasa staff will now take charge of the Mid InfraRed Instrument, known as MIRI, after it was sent off from the lab at Harwell Oxford on Friday.
The camera is being shipped to Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in the US, as the first of four instruments for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
The equipment has undergone vigorous testing to ensure that it can withstand the journey into space that will take it four times further away from the earth than the moon. The JWST is the successor to Hubble and is scheduled for launch in 2018.
MIRI, a pioneering camera, will allow astronomers to explore the formation of planets around distant stars.
Paul Eccleston, test manager for MIRI, said: “It is fantastic to be handing over and delivering the MIRI optical system after nearly nine years’ hard work by all of the team. This is a very proud moment for all of us.”