The James Webb Space Telescope has completed the complex process of deploying its kite-shaped sun visor. The sun protection, about the size of a tennis court, consists of five layers. The first three were deployed initially and the last two were finished late at night. The deployment of all five layers was critical to the space observatory, valued at $ 10 billion (approximately Rs 74.525 billion). The lens hood keeps the telescope cool enough to begin its search for images of distant stars and planets.
NASA said the tensioning of the solar control layers was completed on day 10 after the telescope that will replace the Hubble was packaged and launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. While completing this process will remove a lot of room for error, the James Webb Space Telescope is expected to take about a month to reach its fully extended state.
“This is it: We have just completed one of the most difficult steps on our journey into the unfolding of the universe. After all five layers of the sun visor voltage have been completed, around 75 percent of our 344 individual errors have been rejected, ”tweeted the space agency.
That’s it: We have just completed one of the toughest steps on our journey to #UnfoldTheUniverse.
After all five layers of sun visor tension have been completed, around 75% of our 344 individual defects have been discarded! pic.twitter.com/P9jJhu7bJX
– NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) January 4, 2022
NASA is now planning to deploy James Webb’s secondary mirror. The event will also be broadcast live from 8:15 p.m. IST.
At the above time you can also watch the livestream below:
Tensioning the sun visor is a triumph of space technology. Many initially doubted its success as the design required many motors, gears, cables, and other gadgets. Engineers spent years testing the design and proving that skeptics were wrong.
James Cooper, James Webb Sunshade Manager, previously said that the tensioning phase of the sunshade was a challenge as several components interact with one another.
The sun protection helps to cool the telescope down. Temperatures on the sunny or hot side of the shield can reach up to 110 degrees Celsius while they can be as low as -236 degrees Celsius. This incredible temperature transition is achieved by the five layers of sun protection, which are distributed over almost two meters.
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