The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is currently on its way to its space destination, more than 1.5 million km from Earth. During the course, NASA is committed to complying with the roadmap and to getting the telescope “deployment” and ready for testing; it seems that they are succeeding.
We do not have time to keep you up to date on the latest developments regarding the Webb Space Telescope that immediately arrives new, important news: after having properly deployed the entire solar shield, NASA has now announced that another fundamental step has also been taken, namely the
As you know, the JWST is mainly formed by a huge “golded” primary mirror and secondary and tertiary mirrors. The light is conveyed to the so-called secondary mirror and again to other smaller mirrors of diameter (just like in the Newtonian telescopes and, in this regard, here is the guide for neophytes to the choice of the telescope), until touching the sensors
To get into the Ariane 5 rocket’s ogive that transported Webb correctly, the telescope was divided into sections and folded over itself. As it approaches the point of destination, the observatory resumes its shape, putting each section back in the right position with millimetre precision. This is what just happened with the secondary mirror of the JWST and its supporting structure.
According to NASA’s official blog, the operation was performed masterfully: by means of a heating system, the joints and scooters needed for the deployment of the secondary mirror arms were brought to temperature. It has been defined as the most sophisticated “tripod” in the world.
“Another exceptional day for JWST,” said Bill Ochs, project manager of Webb at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, congratulating the team who worked on this important step of extending the mirror. “It’s all amazing… we’re over 448,000 miles from Earth and we can say we have a telescope.”
When will the next critical event for the JWST be? According to the Space Agency’s roadmap, the primary mirror deployment is expected for tomorrow, or at most on the night between 7 and 8 January. The operation will be divided into additional sub-tops, and we will be here to tell you about them.