The James Webb Space Telescope is one step closer to completing the deployment of its massive sun visor.
On Wednesday (December 29), the new giant space observatory successfully expanded the deployable tower cluster (DTA), a 48-inch (1.2 meter) shaft connecting the two halves of the telescope. literature, NASA officials said in a statement.
The James Webb . Space TelescopeDTA’s creates the necessary space between the portion of the telescope, which houses the giant mirror and science instruments, and the spacecraft’s bus, which houses its electronics and propulsion systems.
“This creates enough distance to allow sensitive mirrors and instruments to cool down to the temperatures needed to detect infrared light,” NASA said in the statement. “This gap will also provide room for the sunshades to open up completely.”
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NASA engineers began issuing commands to the Webb telescope to begin expanding DTA around 9:45 a.m. EST (1445 GMT) on Wednesday. The entire process took six hours and 39 minutes, ending at 4:24 p.m. EST (2124 GMT), NASA said in the statement.
The James Webb Space Telescope launched on December 25 and is currently on a 29-day journey to its destination: a gravitationally stable point 930,000 miles (1.5 million km) from Earth called Lagrange Score 2 or L2. It starts deploy its giant sunshade on Tuesday (December 28), a process expected to take about five days.
The five-layer sunshade will help keep Webb’s instruments and optics cool, a necessity for the observatory, which is optimized for observing the universe in infrared light.
With the DTA now fully expanded, Webb’s next steps will be to release the sunshade and rear reversing wing, which will “help offset some of the solar pressure exerted on the visor.” big sunshine”, NASA say in a description of the implementation process. Webb expects to complete both of these steps by Thursday (December 30), then can begin opening sunshades on Friday (December 31).
https://www.space.com/james-webb-space-telescope-extends-deployable-tower-assembly James Webb Space Telescope expands its tower cluster to pave the way for sunshade deployment