Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Colloquium

Monday, April 24, 2023 at 12:15-1:15PM

JILA Auditorium

Debra Simmons,

"Engineering at the Extremes"

A Pretty Image from the Talk


JWST is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and is 100 times more powerful. It is 7 tons of fragile hardware operating in the Near and Mid Infrared wavelengths. The amazing images of our universe captured by JWST required many engineering feats. In her talk, Ms. Simmons describes several engineering extremes and the science that drove them.

Debra Simmons is a retired Aerospace Engineer. She spent 41 years at TRW and Northrop Grumman Corporation working in Systems Engineering, Satellite Integration and Test, Software Engineering, Attitude Control Subsystems Engineering, and Orbital Operations. Half of her career was dedicated to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and she retired as the Chief Systems Engineer on the program. She served in other leadership roles and was a key member of the team that defined the JWST Observatory concept nearly a quarter of a century ago.


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