The golden mirrors of the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope have been successfully deployed, and each mirror segment testing is now complete.
Erin Wolf, Ball Aerospace’s Webb programme manager, detailed how the mirrors were relocated and tested. ‘The motors made over a million revolutions this week. The mirror deployment team incrementally moved all 132 actuators located on the back of the primary mirror segments and secondary mirror using six motors that deploy each segment approximately half the length of a paper clip, these actuators clear the mirrors from their launch restraints and give each segment enough space to later be adjusted in other directions’, Wolf said.
He also stated that the telescope alignment process will take three months. The crew plans to ignite Webb’s thrusters on January 24 to put the telescope into its orbit around the Sun. The telescope will be launched nearly a million kilometres from Earth.
At 3 pm EST on Monday (1.30 am IST Tuesday), Webb’s scientists and engineers will also address questions regarding the newest breakthroughs. The event will be streamed live on NASA Science Live, NASA’s YouTube channel, and NASA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.