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Optics XRCF Capabilities

X-Ray & Cryogenic Facility (XRCF)

Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) has maintained and operated a world-class x-ray and visible optic and detector testing facility since the mid 1970’s. The XRCF as it stands today, was built in 1990 to perform the ground test and calibration of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. It includes an optically clean, thermally controlled vacuum chamber 22.9 meters (75 ft) long and 7.3 meters (24ft) in diameter; a 518 meters (1700 ft) vacuum tube connects an x-ray source to the vacuum chamber. The vacuum chamber has liquid nitrogen panels and heater panels to simulate deep space environment and to maintain accurate thermal stability.

The original purpose of the XRCF was to simulate x-ray emissions from distant celestial objects and it is the largest facility of its kind in the world. In 2005 the XRCF added 2 kw of helium refrigeration and cryogenic shrouds to test James Webb Space Telescope optics at cryogenic temperatures of 35 Kelvin (-397 degrees F), without compromising the existing x-ray testing capability. Additionally, several wave front measuring devices and a 6DoF cryo-capable optical mount were added to increase the facility capability in the visible spectrum as part of the James Webb Space Telescope mods.

For additional information see the following attachment: