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James Webb Space Telescope


2015 August 27
Preparations for the third cryo-vacuum test (CV3) of the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center continued throughout the summer. For the first time, the flight configuration of the ISIM was vigorously shaken – not stirred! – and bombarded by intense acoustical waves to simulate the harsh conditions of launch. Both NIRISS and FGS sailed through their “system functional tests” before and after these perturbations with no issues. Additional tests to confirm the electromagnetic compatibility of the subsystems of ISIM under conditions that simulate normal operations were also completed successfully. Now that the robustness of the ISIM has been demonstrated, it’s “full speed ahead” for the beginning of CV3 in late October!

2015 February 12
FGS/NIRISS became the first instrument to be reinstalled in the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) following the "Half-Time Show." All the planned hardware changes were successfully completed and both instruments passed their electronic check-outs at room temperature with flying colors. FGS/NIRISS is ready for the final series of tests at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center!

NIRISS at GSFC cleanroom


2014 December 17
Karl Saad, the Canadian Space Agency’s Project Manager for FGS/NIRISS, visited STScI to discuss plans for post-launch commissioning with the CSA-sponsored Instrument Scientists and other members of the FGS/NIRISS Team. Pictured from left-to-right are: Swara Ravindranath, André M., Karl Saad, and Pierre Chayer.

CSA Scientists

2014 December 10
“Half-Time Show” activities for FGS/NIRISS began with the removal of the flight hardware from the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) in the large cleanroom at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The picture shows the moment of extraction, as captured by the ISIM WebbCam. The “Half-Time Show” is a busy time for the COM DEV team, since it represents the final opportunity to replace inferior hardware. NIRISS priorities for this swap-out include the detector; a GR150 grism; the GR700XD grism; and new motors to drive the pupil and filter wheels. The flight instrument will be completely reassembled by January 7, 2015. Although it was the last package to be removed from ISIM, FGS/NIRISS will be the first to be reinstalled later in January.

FGS/NIRISS at GSFC cleanroom

2014 October 29
The Principle Investigator for NIRISS – Prof. René Doyon (Université de Montréal) – presented results from the ISIM CV2 testing of NIRISS at a 3-day meeting held at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Although NIRISS performed very well during this long test campaign, there is new concern about the health of one of the GR150 grisms.

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 August 7 – 8
Members of the NIRISS Science Team met with representatives from the science teams for the other JWST instruments at STScI to exchange perspectives on the use of their respective "guaranteed" observing time and to explore synergies between different approaches to achieving JWST's scientific goals.

2014 June 22-27
NIRISS was well represented at the SPIE "Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation" meeting in Montréal. Five papers describing the instrument and its capabilities were presented by members of the NIRISS Instrument Development Team.

2014 June 16
NIRISS, along with the FGS and the other three 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. Performance verification of the NIRISS observing modes is scheduled for early September.

2014 June 2 – 3
The NIRISS Science Team met at the Université de Montréal to discuss the current status of the instrument, and to explore innovative ways to use the observing time that has been allocated to the team.

2014 March 13
A revised version of NIRISS Pocket Guide is now available on NIRISS Document Archive.


2013 October 29

NIRISS completed its first suite of tests under cryogenic conditions in the large vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The tests featured "first light" observations for all the observing modes of NIRISS. Although a few glitches occurred, initial analysis of the test data show that NIRISS is performing marvelously.

2013 March 1

Integrated Science Instrument ModuleNIRISS 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.


2012 December 21

NIRISS and the Fine Guidance Sensor successfully completed room-temperature functional tests at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

2012 November 15

NIRISS and FGS became the first JWST instruments to be accepted formally by NASA during the Delivery Review Board meeting at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

2012 July 30

The Canadian Space Agency delivered NIRISS and the Fine Guidance Sensor to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on July 30, 2012. There the instruments will be inspected, tested, and incorporated into Webb's Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM).

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2012 February 23

The successful completion of the Test Review Board marked the formal conclusion of the FGS/NIRISS cryovac performance test campaign.


2011 November

The FGS and the TFI hardware that will become NIRISS began its final cryogenic performance test campaign at the Canadian Space Agency's David Florida Laboratory in Kanata, Ontario. The tests are scheduled to be completed in early January, 2012.

2011 October 19-20

The NIRISS passed its critical design review, which was hosted by Com Dev at their facilities in Kanata, Ontario.

2011 July 20

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) reluctantly discontinued work on the Tunable Filter Imager (TFI) when it became clear that issues associated with the cryogenic operation of its Fabry-Perot etalon were unlikely to be resolved in time to meet the instrument's delivery schedule. Instead, CSA will provide a reconfigured instrument - the Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) - that enhances the capabilities of the JWST Observatory while being simpler to fabricate and operate.