Nye Lubricants will take part its second high-profile NASA mission in 2021 with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), launched on December 25th from French Guiana. This infrared telescope, developed in conjunction with the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency, will be used to study and compare the evolution of exoplanets to planets in our solar system. Nye became involved with the JWST project back in 2002 to provide an oil for multiple mechanisms within the telescope. This launch comes just months after the successful landing of the Mars Perseverance Rover.
The JWST is NASA’s largest and most powerful telescope to date. “In an application as large as this, the anti-wear properties of a grease or oil are critical,” says Tony Dotson, Aerospace Industry Manager at Nye Lubricants. The telescope uses a proprietary multiply-alkylated cyclopentane (MAC) Pennzane™ oil. MAC polymers have a molecular structure that resists wear-related breakdown, making them ideal for heavily loaded, metal-on-metal applications.
Unlike other lubricants on the market, Pennzane™ lubricants are the only greases and oils that offer the unique combination of extreme wear protection, low outgassing, and additive compatibility for optimal performance in space and other vacuum applications. Nye Lubricants holds the exclusive distribution rights to Pennzane™ fluids. The JWST marks the largest use of Pennzane™ in Nye history.
In space applications, validation is crucial to the success of a mission. “NASA contractors and other space leaders know to come to Nye because we have the most rigorous testing procedures in the industry,” says Dr. Jason Galary, Nye’s Director of Research, Development, and Innovation. “Once a product is up in space, repairs and maintenance become almost impossible. Our lubricants for space mechanisms are backed by extensive validation data to ensure reliable performance in the vacuum of space.