NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has successfully unfolded its 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror, which completes the final stage of all major spacecraft deployments to prepare for science operations. Its two wings were to folded to fit inside the nose cone of an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket prior to launch. The Webb mission’s goal is to explore every phase of cosmic history, starting from within our own solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe. Read more for two videos and additional information.
The next step for the James Webb Space Telescope is moving its 18 primary mirror segments to align the telescope optics. Once that happens, the ground team will command 126 actuators on the backsides of the segments to flex each mirror over the span of a few months, and then calibrate the science instruments prior to delivering Webb’s first images this summer.
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Today, NASA achieved another engineering milestone decades in the making. While the journey is not complete, I join the Webb team in breathing a little easier and imagining the future breakthroughs bound to inspire the world. The James Webb Space Telescope is an unprecedented mission that is on the precipice of seeing the light from the first galaxies and discovering the mysteries of our universe. Each feat already achieved and future accomplishment is a testament to the thousands of innovators who poured their life’s passion into this mission,” said Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator.