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James Webb Space Telescope
FGS - Fine Guidance Sensor

Find Guidance System

The FGS is a sensitive camera that provides dedicated, mission-critical support for the observatory's Attitude Control System (ACS). The camera can image two adjacent fields of view, each approximately 2.4' X 2.4' in size, and can also be configured to read out small 8 X 8 pixel subarrays at a rate of 16 times per second. Even with these short integration times, the FGS is sensitive enough to reach 58 µJy at 1.25 µm (~Jab = 19.5). This combination of sky coverage and sensitivity ensures that an appropriate guide star can be found with 95% probability at any point in the sky, including high galactic latitudes.

The main functions of FGS include obtaining images for target acquisition, acquiring pre-selected guide stars and to provide the ACS with centroid measurements of the guide stars at a rate of 16 times per second. During on-orbit commissioning of the JWST, the FGS will also provide pointing error signals during activities to achieve alignment and phasing of the segments of the deployable primary mirror.

A science instrument known as the Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) is packaged with the guide camera, but is functionally independent.

The Canadian Space Agency will provide the Fine Guidance Sensor/NIRISS to the the JWST Project. The prime contractor is Com Dev. The Principal Investigator for the FGS is Chris Willott of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, National Research Council of Canada.

Latest News

2014 September 23
The FGS/NIRISS Instrument Teams at STScI proudly display their "Significant Achievement Awards" from the NASA JWST Project. The certificates recognize the Team's "extraordinary dedication and contributions" to NIRISS/FGS. Pictured from left-to-right are: Anand Sivaramakrishnan; Sherie Holfeltz; Alex Fullerton; Deepashri Thatte; Kevin Volk, André M., Swara Ravindranath; Paul Goudfrooij; Pierre Chayer; and Van Dixon. Missing: Ed Nelan (Photo by Michael Wolfe). What a Team!


2014 June 16
FGS, along with the four science instruments, began the second intensive cryogenic test campaign in the large vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The campaign will last for about 3 .5 months, and will exercise the capabilities of all the instruments.

2013 March 1
Integrated Science Instrument Module NIRISS and the FGS became the first flight instruments to be attached to the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), which is currently located in the large clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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