The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has successfully completed the deployment of its five-layer sunshade, which is the size of a tennis court (21 x 14 m), a process critical to mission success.
This great sunscreen consists of five thin layers, of which three were deployed on January 3 and the remaining two on January 4. In those two days, 107 instrument maneuvers associated with the deployment were developed and now the most powerful telescope in history already looks like a ‘diamond’ in space.
In its twitter account The US space agency highlighted the critical step taken for the success of the mission, since now “approximately 75% of the 344 possible ‘single point’ faults have been eliminated”.
The lens hood is coated with aluminum to protect the main optics and all instruments from the Sun’s light and heat. With this shield, the telescope can see the faint light coming from distant stars and galaxies.
Going forward, Webb will have five months to continue its other critical steps such as unfolding its primary and secondary mirrors, aligning the telescope’s optics and calibrating its onboard science instruments. So in six months, it will send its first images to Earth.
“Deploying Webb’s parasol in space is an incredible milestone, crucial to the success of the mission.”Said Gregory L. Robinson, Webb’s program director at NASA Headquarters. “Thousands of parts had to be worked with precision for this engineering marvel to fully unfold. The team has accomplished a daring feat with the complexity of this implementation, one of the most daring undertakings for Webb. “
The James Webb Telescope is a space observatory built by NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency over a span of approximately three decades. From a vantage point, JWST will study the lights of the early universe, the formation of the first galaxies, the origin of stars and planets, and the origins of life.
With information from Europa Press and NASA