Landmark Achieved as NASA’s Webb Telescope Comes Together


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The most powerful and complex space science telescope ever created by humankind is one step closer to launch. As seen in a new video, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope recently reached a key milestone after its two halves were mechanically and electronically connected at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California.
“This short video represents a culmination of over 15 years of work by thousands of engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel from the U.S., Canada, and Europe, all striving to achieve the same goal…to understand the beginning of things, how we humans got here, and if we are alone. Our journey on terra firma is not done. We have about another year of testing to go before we are ready to launch this beautiful observatory, but that cannot diminish the awesomeness of what this achievement represents,” said John Durning, Deputy Project Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope Mission, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Prior to assembly, all of Webb’s major components were tested individually throughout a wide network of NASA, and its partner’s facilities to simulate the varied environments they are expected to encounter during launch, and while in orbit one million miles away from Earth. Now that Webb is a fully assembled observatory, it will go through additional environmental and deployment testing to ensure mission success. Following a successful assembly, testing teams have electrically connected the various interfaces, components and subsystems of the telescope, in preparation for a full observatory-level electronics test. Testing teams will soon complete a full deployment of its revolutionary, tennis court-size sunshield which is designed to keep Webb's mirrors and scientific instruments cold by blocking infrared light from the Earth, Moon and Sun. The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch in 2021.
Webb will be the world's premier space science observatory. It will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency), and the Canadian Space Agency.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Michael McClare (KBRwyle): Producer, Videographer, Editor
Sophia Roberts (AIMM): Videographer
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