James Webb Space Telescope inches closer to tests as the final gold-clad primary mirror segment was installed by the tireless tech team on Wednesday. The 18th and final primary mirror segment completed one more construction phase. The largest, most performant space telescope in the world is thus closer to the October 2018 launch set by NASA.
The James Webb Space Telescope is an ambitious project designed as the successor to the notorious Hubble Space Telescope. While Hubble Space Telescope takes center stage for a myriad of discoveries in the near universe, the James Webb Space Telescope is expected to take center stage for peering into the far universe.
Installing the 88 pounds gold-clad 18th primary mirror segment was performed with the use of a robotic arm. John Grunsfeld with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate declared:
“Scientists and engineers have been working tirelessly to install these incredible, nearly perfect mirrors that will focus light from previously hidden realms of planetary atmospheres, star forming regions and the very beginning of the universe”.
The costs for Hubble Space Telescope’s successor have reached a total of 8.8 billion dollars. Nonetheless, the James Webb Space Telescope is the next huge step for science. The space telescope will be fully optimized to work at infrared spectrum. By contrast, Hubble captures images in the visible light spectrum. The two space telescopes’ mission is the same at their core: peering at the heart of the universe formation. However, each of the two instruments have different approaches.
Gaining more and more knowledge on how the universe’s chemistry switched from one dense heated mass to myriads of stars, planets, galaxies and systems has been humanity’s mission for millennia. The James Webb Space Telescope may help unravel the mysteries of the universe.
Compared to the Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope features a much larger light collecting surface. The primary mirror surface measures 21.3 feet in width. With the secondary optics gear installed in the near-future, the James Webb Space Telescope inches closer to tests.
The technical team of Harris Corp. will be installing the aft-optics assembly as well the secondary mirror surface soon. The last piece of the state of the art space telescope is its Integrated Science Instrument Module.
After all the remaining components are installed, the James Webb Space Telescope will be submitted to testing at the Goddard Space Center. A second testing phase will be conducted at the Johnson Space Center. The launch date for the James Webb Space Telescope has been set for October 2018.