A Deep Look into Space: Constant Force Springs in NASA’s JWST Sunshield

In collaboration with the Aerospace & Defense industries, we are proud to announce our small, yet critical contribution to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Sunshield project.

Set to replace the Hubble Telescope, JWST is said to be six times larger and 100 times more powerful. The Hubble Telescope has provided humankind with remarkable knowledge and findings throughout the past three decades. Sadly, the distance the Hubble Telescope can see has come to an end. Fortunately, with the extraordinary design, work, and dedication committed to the JWST, the information that will be collected is expected to reveal the universe as we have never seen it before, perhaps bringing to light how the first galaxies and stars came to be.

Vulcan Spring joined the mission back in 2009, working with Northrop Grumman, specifically on the Sunshield portion of the project. Our engineers and team members custom-designed and manufactured Conforce® (constant force) springs. Once the JWST launches, those springs will help deploy the critical Sunshield for NASA. Additionally, these springs will provide flight tensioning force to the Sunshield Membrane for the entire life of the spacecraft.

The Sunshield itself is made up of five layers, each thinner than the thickness of a human hair. The shield will protect this sensitive infrared telescope from the sun since it will need to be minus 200° Celsius for proper functionality.

Creating the world’s largest telescope was made possible with the collaboration and help of thousands of individuals across the globe.

JWST is scheduled to begin its voyage into space in December 2021 and will provide NASA the ability to look back into space billions of years, possibly explaining the creation of the universe and opening humanity’s eyes to our role within it.

By Laura Jean Null


Garner, R. (2018, September 4). About – Hubble History Timeline.                            NASA.https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/hubble-history-timeline.

Image by Adriana Manrique Gutierrez, NASA Animator via Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasawebbtelescope/50489686721/in/album-72157624413830771/

James Webb Space Telescope. Northrop Grumman. (2021, June 22). https://www.northropgrumman.com/space/james-webb-space-telescope/.

NASA. (n.d.). Gallery: James Webb Space Telescope. NASA. https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/Gallery/JWST.html.

NASA. (n.d.). The Sunshield Webb/NASA. NASA. https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/observatory/sunshield.html.

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