James Webb Space Telescope fully deploys

12. 1. 2022 0 By Space Seeker

On January 8, 2022, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) successfully deployed the starboard wing of its primary mirror completing the critical deployment sequence including 344 single-point failures points. The deployemnt started shortly after a launch on a European Ariane 5 starting with unfolding of a solar panel and high gain antenna.

At T+5 days, the retraction of the sunshield covers occurred which exposed JWST’s sunshield that is used to block the light and heat from the Sun to the environment of space. Mid-booms successfully deployed a day later preparing for the five sunshield membranes tensioning that was concluded on January 4. You can learn more about the Webb telescope and see its hot and cold side temperatures at NASA.gov

At T+10 days, the observatory successfully deployed the Secondary Mirror Support Structure (SMSS), secondary mirror, and the Aft Deployable Instrument Radiator (ADIR) a day later. Deployment of the port and starboard primary mirror wing segments marked the completion of all major deployments on the observatory.

In the next days and weeks, teams on the ground will begin adjusting Webb’s mirror in preparation for the first returned images expected in middle 2022. What is also helpful for the telescope is the precision of Ariane 5 which should allow for around 20 years of propellant.

Credit: NASA