James Webb Telescope Shipping Container Supported by Invention House Motor Drive

James Webb Shipping Container STTARS
STTARS arrival at Ellingon Airport, TX.
Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn
Invention House is pleased to share the news that we provided custom 400 Hz electric motor drives for the protective container for the James Webb Telescope. The telescope was transported all over the world inside an enormous climate-controlled container, called STARRS (Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road, and Sea).
 
The custom 400 Hz motor drive system supplied by Invention House allowed the container’s air conditioning system to operate anywhere in the world, on the road, and in the air. It accepted power supply at 50hz,60hz, or 400hz and delivered a steady 60hz to the compressor and fans. 
 
NASA had very tight specifications on the allowable temperature and humidity excursions within the container, also known as the James Webb Telescope “cocoon.”
 
  • The telescope, cocoon, air conditioners, and generators were mounted to a large custom flatbed semi-trailer.
  • On the highway, diesel generators provided 60hz power while in the air the C5’s turbine alternators provided 400hz power. The James Webb telescope traveled to Europe where the supply is 50hz.
  • Invention House provided 14kw and 2kw drives for the compressor and fans. The drives were custom engineered to withstand the vibration, temperature, and humidity extremes of being on a tractor trailer and in flight.
The red arrow shows the location of Invention House 400 Hz drives on the James Webb STTARS container.
The system was in service for over 4 years and traveled over 15,000 miles (24,160 km) with several stops in the US, Europe, and finally landing in French Guyana South America from where the James Webb Telescope was launched. The rocket was an Ariane 5 from the European Space Agency. Rockets with their heavy payloads are often launched from near the equator where the surface of the earth is spinning fastest, giving the rockets an extra boost.
 
NASA reported no issues with the system.