Today, Webb’s teams have successfully deployed the observatory’s secondary mirror support structure. When light from the distant universe hits Webb’s 18-karat gold primary mirror, it’s reflected and hits a smaller secondary mirror 2.4 feet (74 meters) in diameter, which will direct the light into your instruments. The secondary mirror is supported by three lightweight, detachable trusses, each approximately 25 feet tall and designed to withstand the spatial environment. Specialized heating systems have been used to heat up the connections and actuators necessary for their proper functioning.
“Another important day for JWST,” said Bill Ochs, Webb Project Manager at NASAGoddard Space Flight Center, where he congratulated the secondary mirror deployment team at the Mission Operations Center in Baltimore. “This is unbelievable…we are 600,000 miles from Earth and we already have a telescope.”
Deployment began around 9:52AM EDT, and the secondary mirror finished moving to its extended location around 11:28AM EDT. The secondary mirror support structure closed at approximately 11:51 AM EST. At approximately 12:23 PM EDT, engineers confirmed that the structure had been fully secured and locked in place and deployment was complete.
“The world’s most advanced tripod has been deployed,” said Lee Feinberg, element manager for Goddard’s Webb Optical Telescope. “That’s really the way of thinking. Webb’s secondary mirror had to propagate in microgravity, at very low temperatures, and eventually it had to work for the first time without errors. It also had to propagate, stabilize and stabilize.” A resistance of about a millimeter and a half, after which it should remain very stable while the telescope points at different places in the sky – this is a secondary mirror of the supporting structure of more than 7 meters. “
Next Webb will deploy an important radiator system known as the Rear Deployment Instrument Radiator (ADIR), which helps dissipate heat from its instruments and mirrors. Learn more about Webb’s publishing schedule Connected.
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