The James Webb Space Telescope successfully completed, on Saturday, January 8, the final stage of its deployment, with its main mirror. It is now in its final form to be able to begin, in just over five months, on its exploration of the universe.
The telescope’s iconic main mirror is about 6.5 meters in diameter, and thus was too large to fit into a rocket as is. during take off, two weeks ago. So it is necessary to bend its sides back.
The first of these wings were deployed on Friday, and the second opened on Saturday morning, as scheduled, NASA said. Space Agency teams continued to lock it down, however, in order to secure it permanently. “You touched my heartThomas Zurbuchen, chief of science missions at NASA, said via video link. What an unusual move. ” NASA broadcast live footage from the control room on Saturday morning, as dozens of engineers hailed the news of the full deployment of the telescope, which will launch from Baltimore on the east coast of the United States.
The mirror is in place now! Fantastic mentor @NASAWebb with Director @northropgrumman Scott Willoughby… https://t.co/pgU0KAywE5
Scientific instruments still need to cool off
Deploying such a telescope into space, not only of its mirrors but also of its heat shield earlier this week, was a risky measure that had not been undertaken in the past. It now appears that the mission is on track to success.
Before the telescope can start operating, it still has to reach its final orbit 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, and scientific instruments will have to keep cooling before it can be very precisely calibrated.
The most powerful space observatory ever built, James Webb in particular should make it possible to observe the first galaxies, which formed only about 200 million years after the Big Bang.
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