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Prepregs for the James Webb Space Telescope

Fibre and prepreg materials engineered for precise strength, stiffness and mechanical performance in space.

4th January 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Morgan Hill, CA, USA


Christmas day 2021 saw the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) – the most complex and powerful telescope ever constructed, outfitted with high modulus carbon-cyanate ester prepregs supplied by Toray Advanced Composites.

The joint mission between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) saw the JWST launched from Kourou, French Guiana, after a decade of testing and fine tuning. It has been designed to look even deeper into space than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990.

In collaboration with Northrop Grumman Aerospace, Toray Advanced Composites was chosen to supply highly reliable composites for the structural design of the JWST based on its heritage within the aerospace industry, including well-known projects such as the Mars Perseverance Rover, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and the Kepler Space Telescope.

The advanced composites are engineered for precise strength, stiffness and mechanical performance and are lightweight to carry out the mission in the extremely challenging environment of space.

“We are honoured to be included as the fibre and prepreg material supplier for JWST and I can’t think of a programme more well-suited to Toray’s core mission of contributing to society through the creation of new value with innovative ideas, technology, and products,” said Eric Howard, aerospace sales director at Toray Advanced Composites. “I think nearly all humans are inspired by the night sky on grand display, even to the unaided eye. As we extensively learned from Hubble, launched three decades ago, JWST is certain to enhance our knowledge of the heavens and to foster curiosity and inspire the next generation of explorers, engineers and scientists.”

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