NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is now fully deployed

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,046   +152
Staff member
In brief: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope mission on Saturday checked off another pivotal milestone as the observatory’s primary mirror was successfully deployed and latched into place over a two-day period. So far, so good.

The 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror had to be folded to fit inside the nose cone of the rocket that carried it to space. The maneuver came after several other critical spacecraft deployments including the unfurling of the five-layer sunshield, and completes the final stage of all major deployments.

Webb will spend the next couple of weeks continuing its journey to the L2 insertion point. Along the way, the launch team will begin calibrating its 18 primary mirror segments using 126 actuators on the backside of the mirror segments to properly align the telescope optics.

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

There’s also a third mid-course correction burn on the docket that’ll help position the craft into orbit around the second Lagrange point nearly a million miles away from Earth. The observatory has to be positioned so far away in order to protect it from the light and heat of the Sun, Earth and Moon.

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

NASA said late last month that due to its precision launch and smooth initial course correction maneuver, Webb should have enough fuel to significantly extend its planned 10-year mission duration.

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kiwigraeme

Posts: 985   +739
As a non-American - I'm grateful to the USA tax payer for things like this - NASA is a costly mistress - but it's not a pink elephant . It's not designed to cut corners , go hard fast and break things - that's why the O rings on the Space Shuttle were problematic - Engineers were warning pre-launch . TBF they may have got a way with this crap earlier . But this line of reasoning is dangerous - see 3 mile Island , Chernobyl , the gondola and bridge accident in Italy in the last few years , lots of mining accidents . Oh the warning light was going off all the time - we just turned it off . I mean how many of us personally would put a nail in place instead of a 5 amp fuse wire on an old style power box in our family home - because it blows all the time - I wouldn't - would just at most test all outlets to find the one at fault - and turn that off - and run a cord - until get it fixed
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,335   +4,975
Congratulations, NASA! This is a spectacular achievement so far. I’m actually becoming a bit frightened about what it might show us.
I'm excited to see what it discovers. It can see wavelengths of light that we previously haven't been able to detect. The image it's going to be taking of the first stars and galaxies is said to have an exposure length of 208 hours. I wonder if it'll be as revolutionary as the Hubble ultra deep field image
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 1,049   +855
Congratulations, NASA! This is a spectacular achievement so far. I’m actually becoming a bit frightened about what it might show us.

With what's going on with our planet I'm more afraid if other's in space think humans are evil and stupid. I hope their not afraid of us and want to distance themselves.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,471   +4,396
TechSpot Elite
As a non-American - I'm grateful to the USA tax payer for things like this - NASA is a costly mistress - but it's not a pink elephant . It's not designed to cut corners , go hard fast and break things - that's why the O rings on the Space Shuttle were problematic - Engineers were warning pre-launch . TBF they may have got a way with this crap earlier . But this line of reasoning is dangerous - see 3 mile Island , Chernobyl , the gondola and bridge accident in Italy in the last few years , lots of mining accidents . Oh the warning light was going off all the time - we just turned it off . I mean how many of us personally would put a nail in place instead of a 5 amp fuse wire on an old style power box in our family home - because it blows all the time - I wouldn't - would just at most test all outlets to find the one at fault - and turn that off - and run a cord - until get it fixed
14 countries participated in this project.

even with the delays and bloated budget, with the whole thing costing NASA about 10bil (plus another 2 bill from others), it only represented about 3% of NASA's annual budget.
 
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texasrattler

Posts: 1,279   +605
With what's going on with our planet I'm more afraid if other's in space think humans are evil and stupid. I hope their not afraid of us and want to distance themselves.
I guess that would all depend on if you think theyve never been here before. If there are aliens or intelligent life in space, I highly doubt they would be afraid us. Theyd have no reason to be.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,539   +7,376
With what's going on with our planet I'm more afraid if other's in space think humans are evil and stupid. I hope their not afraid of us and want to distance themselves.
Most humans are stupid. Many of the smarter ones generally are evil. That select group has been labeled as "sociopaths", or "psychopaths", if you prefer. The ones able to harness that mental defect to their own benefit often wind up as CEOs, lawyers, and in one specific case, POTUS.

So, sleep well tonight, my friend. If you're murdered at all, it will likely be by a neighbor over a parking space he just shoveled out after a snowstorm, and you stuffed you car into it.

Besides, faster than light travel is generally considered impossible. So, if an alien race wants to have us for dinner, it will be many years before the threat presents itself..

If you believe that aliens are already here, you should go out to a deserted place and try to get yourself abducted. That way, (assuming they let you leave their spaceship), you'll be able to report back and tell us what they're planning.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,487   +6,290
I'm excited to see what it discovers. It can see wavelengths of light that we previously haven't been able to detect. The image it's going to be taking of the first stars and galaxies is said to have an exposure length of 208 hours. I wonder if it'll be as revolutionary as the Hubble ultra deep field image
As I see it, its entirely possible it will be even more revolutionary.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,487   +6,290
I guess that would all depend on if you think theyve never been here before. If there are aliens or intelligent life in space, I highly doubt they would be afraid us. Theyd have no reason to be.
Yes, with the assumption that aliens have managed to find a way to cross the vast distances in space in reasonable amounts of time - we on Earth would be like Ants to them (Paraphrasing G'Kar from Babylon 5) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0517670/quotes/?ref_=tt_trv_qu
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 1,049   +855
Most humans are stupid. Many of the smarter ones generally are evil. That select group has been labeled as "sociopaths", or "psychopaths", if you prefer. The ones able to harness that mental defect to their own benefit often wind up as CEOs, lawyers, and in one specific case, POTUS.

So, sleep well tonight, my friend. If you're murdered at all, it will likely be by a neighbor over a parking space he just shoveled out after a snowstorm, and you stuffed you car into it.

Besides, faster than light travel is generally considered impossible. So, if an alien race wants to have us for dinner, it will be many years before the threat presents itself..

If you believe that aliens are already here, you should go out to a deserted place and try to get yourself abducted. That way, (assuming they let you leave their spaceship), you'll be able to report back and tell us what they're planning.
I forgot about that "buffer" time between our world and others far far away in space. To the ones that believe in God if the buffer time is a factor as well.......
 

Underdog

Posts: 255   +153
I would like to hope that any visitors would choose to make first contact somewhere the locals aren't all tooled up and itchin' for a fight. You know the type. Shoot first & ask questions later.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,279   +605
I would like to hope that any visitors would choose to make first contact somewhere the locals aren't all tooled up and itchin' for a fight. You know the type. Shoot first & ask questions later.
If their is intelligent life they already choose long ago not to land or at least nowhere near where there is population. They themselves would assess the situation n know that landing for anyone to see wouldn't be the smartest thing to do, yet.