The space telescope “James Webb” had successfully deployed its main mirror during a recent test to guarantee its functionality in the future in the interplanetary space, reported on the website NASA.
Main mirror “James Webb”, consisting of 18 segments, has an area of 25 square meters, which is five times the area of the primary mirror of Hubble. The Observatory is positioned as a replacement telescopes “Hubble” and “Spitzer” and will conduct observations in the middle infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, while in halo orbit around the second Lagrange point. Tasks for the telescope will be different, it will observe objects in the early Universe, exoplanets and circumstellar disks, star formation regions, outbreaks of new and Solar system objects.
Initially, the telescope was supposed to go into space in 2007, but the launch date was repeatedly postponed due to various difficulties, is now scheduled to start March 30, 2021, however, it was decided to defer it for another four months. August 30, 2019 the Assembly of the telescope was fully completed, and in October 2019 heat shield of the telescope have successfully passed the test.
Currently, engineers are conducting final tests of all systems of the telescope, which is located in the clean room of Northrop Grumman Space Systems in California. In early March, was conducted fairly time-consuming verification of the correct deployment of the main mirror of the telescope. The complexity of the procedure was the need of obespechivaya all items bulky Observatory to simulate weightlessness. However, this could be done, “James Webb” turned his mirror in the correct configuration.
In the future, the team will conduct such an operation again, just before to prepare it for delivery to the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. The space Observatory will deliver the carrier rocket “Ariane-5”. Pandemic coronavirus has had a significant influence on the course of the project, now the number of staff leading work on the telescope is shortened, and in April it is expected a temporary suspension of tests.
Read more about what are the tasks put before the new telescope can be read in our material “That will see the replacement of Hubble?”.