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NASA’s James Webb telescope completes final unfolding in space : NPR

NASA's James Webb telescope completes final unfolding in space : NPR
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Technicians lift the mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope using a crane at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in April 2017. On Saturday, the telescope completed its final deployment into space.

Laura Betz/AFP


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Laura Betz/AFP


Technicians lift the mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope using a crane at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in April 2017. On Saturday, the telescope completed its final deployment into space.

Laura Betz/AFP

The James Webb Telescope completed the last major step of its deployment on Saturday morning, when the telescope’s last mirror wing opened up into space into its final form.

The telescope, an international partnership that also includes European and Canadian space agencies, was launched on December 25 and is considered the most powerful telescope ever launched into space. While there were no cameras to capture what was unfolding, NASA provided a virtual simulation of the process through a live broadcast.

At about 10:28 a.m. ET, the telescope reached its “end of deployment” and those in command of the mission’s operations began to applaud.

The telescope has two mirrors and a solar canopy that all had to be opened into space since its launch, which hasn’t happened before. The mirrors are so large that they are folded like origami in a telescope. One of the mirrors and sun shield was successfully deployed earlier this week.

The full deployment of the telescope was a Attention to detail A two-week process, but it’s not over yet. After opening the pavilion, it goes through an installation process that takes several hours.

NASA says the next step after that involves Five months Alignment and calibration before the telescope begins taking pictures.

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