REDONDO BEACH, Calif., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE: NOC) four-story high, tennis court-sized full-scale model of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope attracted thousands at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Northrop Grumman partnered with NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Microsoft Research, Ball Aerospace, ATK Aerospace, ITT Exelis and the University of Texas at Austin to highlight the science mission and engineering behind NASA's Webb Telescope during the SXSW Interactive Festival March 8-10.
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Texas will play an important role in the testing and utilization of the James Webb Space Telescope. NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston is now home to the only vacuum chamber in the world that is large and cold enough (-440°F) to provide a space-like environment for the Webb Telescope. Chamber A, a national historic landmark used to test Apollo spacecraft, will test portions of this one-of-a-kind flight telescope in a full-up thermal vacuum environment starting in 2014. University of Texas Astronomers and the McDonald Observatory are among those already planning to put the Webb Telescope to work exploring the universe after its launch in 2018.In addition to the full-scale model, the Webb Telescope exhibit at SXSW included an immersive experience with Microsoft Research's interactive World Wide Telescope, featuring presentations by a number of prominent astronomers including Nobel laureate John C. Mather. The World Wide Telescope display showed how that technology made it possible to explore the nature of the universe by panning through Earth's solar system and circling around the Milky Way. The exhibit also showcased Webb Telescope hardware and mirror displays, infrared camera demos, and NASA activities that demonstrated how the mission is inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers to push the boundaries of science and technology.