IR HiRel returns to deep space with James Webb Space Telescope

Credit Illustration: Courtesy NASA GSFC/CIL/
Adriana Manrique Gutierrez)

Munich, Germany, and El Segundo, California. 23 December 2021 – 25 December, NASA plans to launch James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at 12:20 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is 7:20 am local time at the launch site, 1:20 pm Central European Time, and 4:20 am Pacific Standard Time.

European Space Agency (ESA) will provide launch services on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. IR HiRel, an Infineon Technologies AG company, supplied mission-critical radiation-hardened (rad hard) components for JWST. The company previously provided rad hard power electronics for NASA’s first flagship space observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990.

“With JWST expected to operate 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, it will face deep space conditions far more extreme than Hubble,” says Chris Opoczynski, senior vice president and general manager of IR HiRel. “The spacecraft bus provides vital support functions for the telescope’s operation, not the least of which is power distribution, command, control and data handling, etc. Using IR HiRel’s rad hard power conversion solutions provides assurance of long-lived, highly reliable performance for this historic mission.”

Photo: Courtesy NASA/Chris Gunn

An international partnership with ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, JWST will succeed Hubble Space Telescope as NASA’s premier space observatory for the next decade. Once operational, the infrared telescope will extend Hubble’s discoveries to help scientists understand all phases of cosmic history and search for signs of possible habitability among thousands of recently discovered exoplanets.

Several spacecraft bus subsystems, such as electrical power, altitude control, communications, and command and data handling, integrate IR HiRel space-grade DC-DC converters, rad hard MOSFETs and other power control products that ensure reliable operation in the harsh deep space environment.

Infineon and IR HiRel offer a portfolio high-reliability, rad hard memory, RF solutions and power conversions for space and other rugged environments. Flight-proven HiRel products are used throughout spacecraft electrical and payload systems. More information is available at here.

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