NASA's James Webb Space Telescope begins sunshield deployment.

Two structures on either side of JWST lowered into position Dec. 28, starting a delays-long process of deploying the spacecraft's sunshield.
Two structures on either side of JWST lowered into position Dec. 28, starting a delays-long process of deploying the spacecraft’s sunshield. (Image Credit: NASA)

It’s just a matter of time until the massive sun shield for the James Webb Space Telescope is completed.

The 48-inch-long (1.2-meter) deployable tower assembly (DTA), which joins the telescope’s two sections, was successfully extended on Wednesday (Dec. 29), NASA officials stated in a statement.

To maintain enough separation between the telescope’s large mirror and scientific equipment and the spacecraft bus, which contains the telescope’s electronics and propulsion systems, NASA designed the DTA for the James Webb Space Telescope.

A statement from NASA reads, “This provides sufficient distance for sensitive mirrors and equipment to cool down enough to detect infrared radiation.” “The sunshield membranes will be able to completely unfurl in this space.”

At 9:45 a.m. EST (1445 GMT) on Wednesday, NASA engineers started sending orders to the Webb telescope to expand the DTA. According to NASA’s announcement, the whole operation took six hours and 39 minutes and was completed at 4:24 p.m. EST (2124 GMT).

Lagrange Location 2, or L2, is a gravitationally stable point 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometres) away from Earth. The James Webb Space Telescope launched on Dec. 25 and is presently on a 29-day trek to get there. Deploying its massive sun shield, which is scheduled to take five days, started on Tuesday (Dec. 28).

An infrared-optimized observatory like Webb requires a five-layer sunshield to preserve its sensors and optics from overheating.

Webb’s following stages will be to release the sunshield cover and the aft momentum flap, which will “help counteract some of the solar pressure that impinges on the huge sunshield,” NASA stated in a description of the deployment procedure. If all goes as planned, Webb should be able to start deploying its sunshield on Thursday (Dec. 30). (Dec. 31).

Post a Comment

0 Comments