NASA completes James Webb final deployment

Credits: NASA GSFC / CIL / Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team has fully deployed its 21-foot gold-plated primary mirror, completing the final phase of all major spacecraft deployments in preparation for scientific operations.


As a joint effort with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency, the web mission will explore every phase of cosmic history, from the solar system to the farthest observable galaxies in the early universe.

NASA Administrator Bill Nells commented on the development: “Today NASA has achieved another engineering milestone that lasts for decades. When the journey is not over, I am joining the web team to breathe a sigh of relief and visualize the determined future progress. “To inspire the world. The James Webb Space Telescope is an unprecedented mission to see the light of the first galaxies and to unravel the mysteries of our universe.

The two wings of the web’s primary mirror were curved before launching to fit the Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket’s nose cone. More than a week after another crucial spacecraft mission, Webb’s team began arranging the hexagonal parts of the main mirror remotely, the largest launch ever. Place.

The telescope will now begin moving its 18 primary mirror segments to align the telescope optics. The ground team will command 126 actuators at the back of the segments to flex each mirror – an alignment that will take months to complete. The team will then calibrate science tools before distributing the first images of the web this summer.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, added: The successful deployment of the web is the best example of what NASA has to offer: the desire to try bold and challenging things in the name of discovery is still unknown. “

The web will also soon pass through a third midway correction burn – one of three designed to bring the telescope into a certain orbit around the second Lagrangian point, commonly known as L2, about 1 million miles from Earth. This is the last orbital position of the web where its sunshade protects it from sun, earth and moon light which can interfere with infrared light observations. The web was designed to look 13.5 billion years back, to receive infrared light from celestial bodies at higher resolutions than ever before, and to study our own solar system as well as distant worlds.

Gregory L., director of web programs at NASA headquarters. “The successful completion of all web space telescope missions is historic. This is the first time that a NASA-led mission has attempted to complete the observatory’s complex sequence in space, a significant achievement for our team, NASA and the world,” Robinson said.

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