As the James Webb Space Telescope approaches its final orbit, each of the primary and secondary mirror sections successfully exits the launch position. In the past few days, the Web team has begun to move the secondary mirror and the main mirror sections of the observatory slightly to get them out of launch mode. Due to the folding of the Telescope during launch, each of the eighteen sections of the main mirror also had to be secured in place to protect it from being thrown and shaken by the launch. But as space travel and the telescope's main components unfolded, it was time to open each part of the mirror.
Erin Wolf, Web Design Director at NASA "Today, the James Webb Space Telescope team completed the installation of the mirror section," Ball Aerospace said of the completion of the process. As part of the effort, the actuator motors spun more than a million revolutions this week, controlled by 20 electronic refrigeration boxes on the telescope. He moved the secondary mirror, leaving each part of the primary mirror 12.5 millimeters away from the Telescope structure. They moved the length of a paper clip. With this, each section now has enough space to later be moved and adjusted in different directions for the alignment process with the other sections of the mirror. James Webb mirrors are made of Beryllium, which is six times stronger than steel. But James Webb operators even have the ability to overcome this resistance, and during the alignment process, they individually change the curvature of each part of the mirror to finally adjust the initial parabolic shape of the main mirror.
Next step And during the wavefront alignment process, the mirrors will move in the micrometer and nanometer ranges to reach the final optical positions to have a smooth and accurate telescope. The process of aligning the Telescope will take about three months. (L2) The Sun-Earth is also coming to an end, and after traveling about 1.4 million kilometers, only about 4% of it remains.
Cover Photo: Graphic Design by the James Webb
> Credit: NASA