NASA recognises work of Cranfield technician

A Cranfield technician who was heavily involved in making some of the most complex mirrors of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been recognised by NASA for the quality of his work.

Alan Heaume, who works within Cranfield University’s Precision Engineering Institute, received a Significant Achievement Award, presented by Nagin Cox, a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Nagin was visiting the UK as part of the U.S. Department of State’s speaker programme.

The Institute has worked on this NASA project for over six years having produced over 160 flight mirror surfaces of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope.

The complex Mid Infrared Instrument spectrometer mirrors are accurate to better than 10 nanometres. They provide the JWST an ability to detect life identifiers of Earth-like planets near far away Stars, typically oxygen and hydrogen.

Alan was involved with the project from the offset, making the so-called Breadboard, Verification, Flight and Flight Spare MIRI spectrometer mirrors – over 400 surfaces in total.

Receiving his award from Nagin Cox, a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who was visiting the UK as part of the U.S. Department of State’s speaker programme, Alan commented, “This project was extremely challenging but I am now very proud to have made a contribution to the replacement of the Hubble Space Telescope. I am looking forward to seeing its launch and first light”

Nagin Cox, who has worked with JPL since 1993, serving as a systems engineer and manager on many interplanetary robotic missions, including NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration rover missions and the Kepler telescope mission, congratulated Alan for being recognised by NASA for his significant contribution towards realising the JWST.

Photo (left to right): Alan Heaume, Nagin Cox