For the James Webb Space Telescope, the critical phase of construction has now started. After unfolding the side mirrors, the construction of the main mirror is now being prepared.
NASA explains important details about this. The final and most complex part of the construction of the new James Webb Space Telescope will start this weekend. The next steps before the actual commissioning of the Hubble successor will be live again via NASA TV, the NASA app and the US space agency website be visible. According to the previous plans, NASA will probably start the transmission today, January 8, at around 3 p.m. CET.
NASA wants to report live on the last hours of the large Webb missions. As a final step, the Webb team plans to deploy the second of the telescope’s two main mirror wings. The port main transom wing is fully extended and locked. As soon as the next step is completed, the James Webb Telescope will have finished unfolding in space and can move on to scientific operations.
The schedule might change as well
Webb is a joint project with the ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. The telescope was launched on December 25th from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is now in the process of unfolding into its final configuration in space, which is basically the last process directly controlled by humans before the telescope will send images back to Earth.
Depending on how the structure of the main mirror will now be, the schedule for the milestones should be changed. So far, however, the team has only encountered a few problems, including when they could not tension the sun protection according to plan and thus lost valuable time. Once fully operational, Webb will be able to explore every phase of cosmic history – from the solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe and everything in between, according to NASA.
“Webb will uncover new – and certainly unexpected – discoveries and help humanity understand the origins of the universe and our place in it.” NASA provides regular updates in the Webb Telescope Blog. Anyone who wants to can use Webb online via an interactive tracker “Where is Webb?” and about the Deployments Explorer web page pursue.
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