About Me

2dfcd2dDr. D. Scott Acton

Scientist at Ball Aerospace

My name is Dr. Scott Acton. I work for Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. At Ball, we are helping to build the “James Webb Space Telescope,” an incredible instrument that is going to replace the Hubble Space Telescope in about 4 years.

On the JWST project, I am the “Wavefront Sensing and Controls Scientist.” In order to understand what that means, I first have to tell you a bit about JWST. JWST is going to be really big—much bigger than Hubble. It’s so big, in fact that it would never fit inside of any launch vehicle. As a result, the entire telescope has to fold up. The primary mirror is made up of 18 segments and folds up as well. After launch, the telescope unfolds itself. My job (along with the team of people I work with) is to put it back together so that it becomes a telescope. This is all done by remote control, of course. Fun, right!?

I’ve always like bicycling and bicycle touring. I love astronomy, technology and giving public lectures on these topics. And, of course, I am really excited about JWST! About a year ago, I got the idea to combine the two subjects. So, I am taking a year off from my job to travel around the world by bicycle. Along the way, I’ll stop once or twice a week to give public lectures on this amazing telescope.