What has taken decades in the making, the James Webb Space Telescope has been fully deployed with it’s primary gold-coated mirror – the final stage of all spacecraft deployments that pushes it toward science operations. Though the telescope’s journey is not entirely complete, it’s an engineering milestone as a major breakthrough in the science and technology world. What makes this deployment especially significant is that it leads the telescope’s mission of seeing light from the first galaxies, along with discovering other mysteries of the universe, exploring phases of cosmic history. After over one week of critical spacecraft deployments, the telescope began unfolding segments of the primary mirror which is the largest ever launched into space. As the world’s largest and most complex space telescope, it will begin moving 18 primary segments to align the telescope optics. The next couple of months will require the ground team to command 126 actuators on the backslides of the segments to flex each mirror. The first images produced by the telescope will be delivered as of this summer. The mission of the telescope is to look back over 13.5 billion years in order to capture infrared light from celestial objects with more efficient resolution than before. This is a remarkable accomplishment to have unfolded and been led by the NASA teams who have worked tirelessly on making this project come to fruition.
Photo by: Ferla Guillermo