October 3, 2023

James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Deployment Has Begun

Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Deployment. Credit: NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab
Engineers have begun the last phase of Webbs major structural implementations: the unfolding of its 2 main mirror wings. These side panels, which were folded back for launch, each hold 3 of the observatorys 18 hexagonal, gold-coated mirror sectors.
The group is beginning today with the mirror wing on the port (left) side of the observatory. Engineers should first launch systems that held the wing in place for launch, in order to allow the wing to deploy. The panel then turns into position, a motor-driven procedure that takes about 5 minutes. When the wing is extended, engineers start a careful, two-hour procedure to securely lock it into location.
The deployment of the second main mirror wing, prepared for tomorrow, will follow the same procedure.

January 7, 2022