We can all breathe already. The main mirror and all the main components of the James Webb Space Telescope are fully unfolded and the most powerful space telescope in the history of mankind continues to move towards its destination.
The mirror was unveiled on January 8, 2022 and represents a milestone in space science as a whole. The 18-segment mirror is the largest mirror ever sent into space; He must offer us unprecedented views of the cosmos and revolutionize the study of space.
“After decades of work, NASA has overcome another milestone. It’s true that the journey is not over yet, but the Web team has taken a deep breath and is already imagining how many breakthroughs await us from this telescope in the future, ”said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
According to him, the James Webb Space Telescope is an unprecedented mission to see the light of the first galaxies and reveal many mysteries of the universe.
Currently, the Web is heading for its new home, about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, in a region called Lagrange Point.
There, the combination of the gravitational forces of two large bodies (in this case the earth and the sun) creates a small zone of gravitational stability.
The web is located at the second point of Lagrange (L2) – from a solar point of view, there are a total of five such points for the two-cornered system on the dark side of the earth. At this point the web should arrive by the end of January.
Meanwhile, scientists from Earth are giving orders to prepare the web for scientific service. One month after launch, engineers will check to see if Webb has reached the second point of Lagrange.
Once the web is placed at this point, a Fine Guidance Sensor, a near-infrared camera, and a near-infrared spectrograph will be included to take test, blurry photos. Blurred because the mirrors will not be focused yet.
Then it will be time to adjust the mirror precisely. This process will involve 126 precision drives (adjusting mechanisms) located behind the gold-plated mirrors, which must carefully adjust each segment of the mirror; This process will take several months.
Calibration will start after that, which will also take several months, and the web will start scientific operations in June 2022.
At this point, given the many difficulties this project has faced since 1996, launching and fully deploying the observatory has been a great success.
“The successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is a historic event. “This is the first time NASA has completed a complex space shuttle operation,” said Gregory Robinson, Webmaster.