JWST Primary Mirror Prepared For Testing At Johnson Space Center

This photo shows one fully deployed wing, and one that is moments from being fully deployed. An engineer observes the move. Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

May 16, 2017 – The towering primary mirror of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope stands inside a cleanroom at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it will undergo its last cryogenic test before it is launched into space in 2018. In preparation for testing, the “wings” of the mirror (which consist of the three segments on each side) were spread open.

The eighteen mirror segments that make up the primary mirror were built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. Ball is the principal subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for the optical technology and optical system design.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb will study many phases in the history of our universe, including the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets similar to Earth, as well as the evolution of our own solar system.

James Webb Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.