MIRI First Light

MIRI undergoing alignment testing
The flight model MIRI instrument opened its eyes for the first time in the Space Test Chamber at RAL. This major milestone marks the start of a three-month long test campaign to provide calibration data prior to delivering MIRI to NASA for integration into the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).   MIRI is the mid-infrared instrument for JWST, the successor to Hubble, and provides imaging, spectroscopy and coronagraphy from 5 - 28 microns.
STFC have led the international team developing the instrument and a key part of the UK role is the Assembly Integration and Test (AIV) campaign at RAL. 
After 10 days cooling in RAL Space’s large thermal vacuum chamber, a team of scientists and engineers from the MIRI consortium switched on the internal calibration source of the MIRI instrument for the first time on 10th May 2011.  
First light data

The photograph opposite shows the instant the images appeared on the test computer. On the leftmost screen is the data from the Imager detector and shows, to first order, a flat field illumination. The middle screen shows a spectra produced by spectrometer channels 1 and 2 and rightmost screen shows spectra from spectrometer channels 3 and 4.  

The images were exactly as predicted and confirm that MIRI is in good shape to continue with the rest of the calibration campaign.


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