Systems Engineering Seminar

Systems Engineering of the James Webb Space Telescope

Presented by:
Michael Menzel, Code 590 - Mission Systems Engineer for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 1:00 pm
Building 3 Auditorium


The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be NASA’s successor mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST telescope will have an aperture greater than 6 meters in diameter, and along with its compliment of science instruments must be cooled to cryogenic temperatures below 40K. The observatory will be operated at the Sun-Earth L2 point to keep thermal sources such as the Sun and Earth in the same general direction so that the payload can be shaded from their radiation by a large deployable sunshield. This presentation will give an overview of the JWST system and describe some of the more unique systems engineering challenges of this “first of its kind” mission. The presentation will also describe some of the systems engineering techniques used by the team to address these challenges to achieve launch readiness in 2018.



Mike has 32 years of experience in the aerospace industry. He has worked 23 years in industry for commercial and defense missions and for NASA for the past 9 years. He is currently the Mission Systems Engineer for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Mike received a B.S. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981 and an M.S. in Physics from Columbia University in 1986. He began his career in 1981 with the RCA Astro Space Division in East Windsor, N.J. as an antenna engineer, designing flight antennas for commercial and defense communications and remote sensing satellites. In 1990 Mike took a position in the Systems Engineering Group of the General Electric Astro Space Division designing commercial, DOD and civil space systems. In 1995 he took a position as Director of Systems Engineering in the Orbital Sciences Corporation, and in 1997 he took as position as the Deputy Program Manager for the HST Servicing Group at Lockheed Martin.

Mike began working on the Pre-Phase studies for the Next Generation Space Telescope in 1998, and in June of 2004 he took the position as the NASA Mission Systems Engineer for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Mike has been the recipient of the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award for Engineering in 2009, the NASA Systems Engineering Excellence Award in 2010, the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division Engineering Excellence Award in 2013 and the 2013 NASA Honor Award for Outstanding Leadership Medal.



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