The thumbs up has begun. This is because as the space telescope flies through the vast universe, thousands of parts need to be opened in precise order.
Last Saturday, Christmas Day, the time came: The long-awaited launch of the James Webb Telescope. And with success. This is because the launch went smoothly despite the many setbacks that the telescope has faced in recent years. Now the thumbs up has started. Because the coming season is incredibly exciting, with thousands of parts that need to be opened in the right order.
The James Webb Telescope consists of several parts. At the time of launch, all of those parts were folded together. But as the telescope moves to its final destination, more and more elements are revealed. It’s definitely not a runway race. According to NASA, even after the launch, things could still go wrong at 300 points, so the telescope could not work better.
In full swing
At this moment, the unveiling of the powerful space telescope – and thus the thumbs up – is in full swing. The solar panels were opened within about thirty minutes of launch. These are now fully deployed and working properly. The antennas followed yesterday. With antennas, the space telescope can transmit at least 28.6 gigabytes of scientific data to Earth twice a day. In addition, the telescope’s temperature sensors are activated, allowing technicians to monitor the telescope’s thermal systems.
More and more episodes will follow in the coming period. In particular, it would be exciting to open up a giant canopy that is as long as a tennis court. The solar shield plays a vital role in the operation of the telescope. This shield wraps around the telescope’s mirrors and equipment like an umbrella and protects very sensitive infrared devices from other things – they must be very cool to operate – from the heat of the sun. The first steps to install the solar shield will begin today.
Another moment that breaks the nerves will be the unveiling of the mirrors. The James Web is equipped with a main mirror (containing eighteen individual mirrors that act as a large mirror) and a secondary mirror. On the tenth day of the mission, the secondary mirror will be ready. This mirror is one of the most important parts of the telescope and is essential for the success of the mission. So no error will occur during opening. The mirror is located on three poles that go from the main mirror to the secondary mirror. This small, circular mirror plays an important role in collecting light from the main mirror. The idea is that the primary mirror collects dim light from the first and farthest galaxies. The secondary mirror reflects the light collected by the primary mirror into James Webb’s onboard scientific instruments. It is important that the mirrors are installed properly, as deviations of more than 38 nanometers – the thickness of one thousandth of a human hair – can cause problems. The opening of the primary mirror begins on the twelfth day.
Watch this video as all the special parts expand.
In all, it took James Webb 29 days to complete all his parts. As the telescope moves rapidly toward its final destination: a point about 1.6 million kilometers from Earth. This promises to be a nerve-wracking period in which a lot of mistakes can happen. But if the telescope successfully completes its journey, it will formally end the most difficult and complex deployment ever made in space.
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