The James Webb Space Telescope on Tuesday completed one of its most important maneuvers – the process of opening a special cover that protects it from the sun. The design is intended to provide the temperature necessary for the proper operation of the scientific instruments.

The US space agency NASA reported Tuesday that the James Webb Space Telescope (James Webb Space Telescope) has completed a maneuver to deploy a special shield that protects it from the sun. One of the most important points in the launch of the new telescope was the dismantling of the cover.

“The deployment of the sunvisor into space is a significant milestone for the success of the mission,” said Gregory L. Robinson, program manager for the James Webb Space Telescope.

It took nearly a week to open and tighten the lid

It took nearly a week to take apart and tighten the five-layer, 70-meter sun visor and it was finished the day before schedule. The design is intended to protect the telescope from sunlight and to provide the necessary temperature for the proper operation of the scientific instruments.

Armor development was one of the most delicate elements of the process. At the end of the process, the scientists were able to complete about 75 percent of the 344 mission components, which, if failed, could lead to the failure of the entire project.

Next steps for the mission

Previously, the telescope managed to pass, among other things, the detection of the antenna and solar panels. Over the next five days, the telescope’s secondary mirror will open, followed by its most important component, the 6.5-meter main mirror. All of these items had to be folded to fit the Ariane 5 rocket, which launched the telescope into space on December 25. Proper alignment and calibration of the mirror panels will take another 10 days.

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Ten days after liftoff from the base in French Guiana, the James Webb Space Telescope is currently traveling at 0.51 kilometers per second and more than 915,000 kilometers from Earth. To the destination point in flight – the L2 vibration point, he has more than 530,000 to travel. kilometres. It is due to arrive there on January 22nd. The telescope is scheduled to be fully operational in late spring.

James Webb Telescope Mirrorbab/Reuters/Adam Zimenovic

The Webb Telescope is the fruit of nearly three decades of work by scientists from NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. The instrument is a more advanced and powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers hope that thanks to the new telescope it will be possible, among other things, to examine the atmospheres of planets outside the solar system for signs of life and discover the first stars and galaxies that formed about 200 million years after the Big Bang.

James Webb Telescopebab/Reuters/Adam Zimenovic

Main image source: NASA / Chris Jenn