More than two weeks after the James Webb Space Telescope’s launch on Christmas Day, the telescope has traveled about 700,000 miles from Earth. JWST has successfully deployed its secondary mirror, a key element of the telescope’s optics. Next, JWST will unfold its primary mirror segments.
U-M astronomer Michael Meyer says that observing the telescope’s transformation has been fascinating.
“In the last week, the team has learned a great deal about the spacecraft that they couldn’t have uncovered during testing on the ground. As a result, the tensioning of the sunshield was delayed in order to examine the power subsystems and motors in more detail. Anticipating such occurrences, a flexible plan was developed in order to adapt as things proceed. And that strategy seems to be paying off.
“So far, the deployment of JWST has been a spectacular success. There have been a few nerve-wracking moments, but the daily reports have been welcome good news in these uncertain times. A dedicated team of engineers is going through the to-do list, item by item: There is still a ways to go, but so far, so great.”
- The public can follow along at: NASA Blogs, Twitter and Flickr.
- Read original story: U-M astronomers anticipate launch of James Webb Space Telescope