The WISE satellite, or Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer, will make the JWST a little smarter. The 12-foot-tall space telescope will conduct an all-sky infrared survey to examine bright spots and potential points of interest for the JWST. This image shows the craft inside Ball's thermal vacuum chamber, which gauges its ability to handle severe temperature changes.
At the high speeds required to maintain low Earth orbit, a satellite takes an average of 90 minutes to revolve around the planet. On the sunny side, temperatures can soar to 500 degrees Fahrenheit; on the dark side, they can drop to -450 F. Most materials will expand and contract with those changes, so engineers have to make sure the satellite won't fall apart.
"We need to make sure the aluminum and foil or glass will be OK together, because they expand and contract," said Ken Hutchison, Ball's senior photographer and resident tour guide.