James Webb's Telescope spreads its 'Wings' for the last time before the Mission begins

James Webb’s Telescope spreads its ‘Wings’ for the last time before the Mission begins

The James Webb Telescope will be the most comprehensive, advanced, and largest space telescope humanity has ever created. NASA has been testing all aspects of the unique device in recent tests for many months. The latest James Webb telescope was able to expand and stretch its sun visor in the final tests, which it will use in space, informs NASA in its blog.

The James Webb Telescope is the result of many years of collaboration by engineers and scientists from several space agencies who have been able to create the most perfect space telescope in history. However, his path of development was accompanied by several problems and postponements of the start of the mission, which was constantly shifting.

NASA postponed the start of the mission and solved serious problems

In July of this year, during a test of the telescope’s systems, a serious problem was revealed with its sun visor, which will serve as protection against the sun’s rays and heat during space travel. Cracks appeared in it and the joints were loosened.

The team of engineers and scientists therefore had to correct this serious shortcoming, which, however, was reflected in the postponement of the start of the mission. The James Webb Telescope is currently scheduled to begin its journey in October 2021.

James Webb Telescope Illustration
James Webb Telescope Illustration

The date was postponed due to problems and the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a 7-month slippage compared to the original plans. The telescope was supposed to fly into space in March next year.

However, as they say, measure twice and cut once. This is doubly true, especially in the testing and development of such complex equipment for space missions as this largest telescope in human history. According to new information, however, it looks like NASA has brought the existing problems with the sun visor under control and fixed them.

James Webb’s telescope is almost ready for the expected start of the mission

A recent blog post from the US Space Agency confirms that the telescope achieved its greatest success in 2020. It was able to successfully extend and tighten a large sun visor without any problems. NASA has thus tested a process that will take place in the same way after launching the device in space.

The telescope recently passed the test at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California. According to James Webb, head of systems for the telescope, Alphons Stewart, they were able to open the telescope’s sun visor in a synchronized motion in the center, while retaining the desired “snake” shape. After this test, the device is therefore also ready to expand the orifice in space.

James Webb Telescope Illustration 2
James Webb Telescope Illustration 2

According to NASA, maintaining the desired shape of the screen is a demanding and complicated process. The telescope’s sun visor itself is as big as a tennis court and consists of 5 layers coated with a special polymer, thanks to which it will be able to reflect the emitted light, heat and cool the device to the required temperature of 223 ° C below freezing.

We have written all the detailed information about the James Webb Telescope and its scientific instruments in this article. During this important aperture test, instructions were sent to the telescope hardware during the process, which controlled 139 actuators, 8 motors, and thousands of other components that spread the 5-layer orifice into the desired shape.

James Webb Space Telescope

A major problem with this test was also Earth’s gravity, which increases the friction and stress of the components as the diaphragm unfolds. However, this factor is eliminated in space.

For the purpose of launching the telescope into space, the sun visor will be folded around two arms and the entire device will be placed on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, which will be provided by the European Space Agency (ESA).

However, once the James Webb Telescope reaches space (unless NASA postpones the term), it will help scientists uncover a number of fascinating and unprecedented phenomena, including distant galaxies. We also dealt in detail with the possibilities of this unique device in our separate article.

Bruce Dorminey
I'm a science journalist and host of Cosmic Controversy (brucedorminey.podbean.com) as well as author of "Distant Wanderers: the Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System."  I primarily cover aerospace and astronomy. I’m a former Hong Kong bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and former Paris-based technology correspondent for the Financial Times newspaper who has reported from six continents. A 1998 winner in the Royal Aeronautical Society's Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards (AJOYA), I’ve interviewed Nobel Prize winners and written about everything from potato blight to dark energy. Previously, I was a film and arts correspondent in New York and Europe, primarily for newspaper outlets like the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe and Canada's Globe & Mail. Recently, I've contributed to Scientific American.com, Nature News, Physics World, and Yale Environment 360.com. I'm a current contributor to Astronomy and Sky & Telescope and a correspondent for Renewable Energy World. Twitter @bdorminey