James Webb Telescope (James Webb Space Telescope) has become one step closer to space. Experts NASA and the company Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the final test to open the main mirror of the device, during which it was transferred to the working position. The next time the mirror JWST will be deployed in orbit.
The main mirror JWST consists of 18 beryllium hexagonal segments. The total area of its collecting surface is 25m². It is the largest mirror in history to leave the Earth’s atmosphere. Because of its impressive size, it will be folded up during the launch. Its deployment will take place after JWST reaches the operating position near the Lagrangian point L2 of the Earth-Sun system.
During testing, engineers tested not only the mirror deployment mechanism, but also the correctness of its software. Special unloading equipment was used to simulate the effect of weightlessness. It is also worth noting that during the test, deployment system components and instruments were covered with special heat protective blankets, which will be used during the real launch.
Successful completion of the test means that JWST has only a few final checks to go through, during which the opening of radiator assemblies and a special support tower will be practiced. After that, the telescope will be prepared to be sent to the Kourou launch site in French Guiana. Its launch is scheduled for October 31, 2021.