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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is fully deployed.

In short: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope mission on Saturday marked another major milestone as the observatory’s main mirror was successfully deployed and locked in place for two days. So far, so good.

The 21-foot gold-plated main mirror had to be folded down to fit inside the nose cone of the rocket that propelled it into space. The maneuver comes after several other critical spacecraft deployments, including the deployment of a five-layer sunscreen, and completes the final phase of all major deployments.

Webb will be spending the next couple of weeks continuing on my way to the point of insertion L2. Along the way, the launch command will begin calibrating its 18 primary mirror segments using 126 actuators on the back of the mirror segments to properly align the telescope optics.

Before the first images can be delivered from Webb this summer, NASA must calibrate the observatory’s onboard science instruments.

There is also a third intermediate course correction on the board that will help put the ship into orbit around the second Lagrange point, nearly a million miles from Earth. The observatory must be located so far away as to protect it from the light and heat of the Sun, Earth and Moon.

Webb is the largest and most complex telescope ever launched into space. It launched from Kourou, French Guiana on Christmas Day thanks to an Ariane 5 rocket after years of cost overruns and delays.

Late last month, NASA said that, thanks to a precise launch and smooth initial course correction maneuver, Webb should have enough fuel to significantly extend the mission’s planned 10-year duration.




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