The design process had begun once we finished our research; students looked at the animation for the James Webb Space Telescope and we identified our problem.
The solar canopy on the James Webb Space Telescope will need to open to the size of a tennis court when it arrives in outer space. If the pieces were made in different places, they would have to be shipped to Redondo Beach, CA for the scientists to attach it to the telescope. Our job, as the manufacturers, was to get our canopy into its shipping crate in such a way that it could be deployed from the box, ready to attach to the telescope.
Our canopies had to be 36" long and 12" wide. Would they need protection to come out of the box? How could they be folded? What was the most efficient folding design?
Challenge accepted. Students go into action.
Much measuring, tons of discussion, everybody moving around the tables to get the process in play. It got pretty loud, but you could hear the students conferring about the project: "The tinfoil is too weak. It needs protection. Go cut some fabric." Materials personnel revisited the materials table. Recorders wrote every point of the process down, looking for the point of failure. iPad keepers photographed the stages for the digital portfolios.