Status Report

NGST Weekly Missive 25 Apr 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
April 25, 2002
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Hi Folks,

We’ve kept focused over the last couple of weeks on bringing our
3 major procurements to completion. The Instrument AO is still on
track for a mid-June award announcement. The Science and Operations
contract effort is in the last stages of work too. The Phase 2 Prime
Contractor downselect competition is headed for a "lightning
round", and since I may in fact be dating myself with that
reference, let me explain my meaning more clearly below.

NASA has asked the offerors for the NGST prime contract to
submit revised information consistent with a planned launch date of
June 2010.  NASA anticipates a relatively short turnaround time
for the evaluation of the revised input, and hence the term
"lightning round" mentioned above. This new launch date is
in agreement with the planned availability of NASA funds and with the
rate of progress on the key technology developments in mirrors,
instruments and other devices.  It accommodates several
possibilities for the international contributions from the European
and Canadian Space Agencies, and it does not require reductions of
capabilities.  NASA is fully committed to meeting the scientific
objectives developed by the NGST Science Working Groups and reviewed
by committees advising all three space agencies.

On the technology front, our GSFC MEMS Development Group, on tap
to deliver a programmable aperture selector (MEMS Microshutter Array)
to the European Near Infrared Spectrometer (NIRSPEC) Team, had a
technology first recently, as they operated a sub unit of the full
microshutter array successfully at cryogenic temperatures. Many from
the ISIM team were gathered last week over in Marseilles for a Phase
A mid term review of the ESA NIRSPEC instrument.

Finally, Peter Stockman tells us that the electronic (pdf-file)
release of STScI spring 2002 Newsletter is available for download

It contains a couple of interesting articles on NGST in addition
to HST. (It can also be reached by clicking "STScI
Newsletter"  in the left column of the Institute

SpaceRef staff editor.