NASA Begins Process of Aligning James Webb Space Telescope, Set for May

- 13 January 2022 21:43 WIB
The James Webb Space Telescope is set to capture its first space image on May. (NASA/Chris Gunn)
The James Webb Space Telescope is set to capture its first space image on May. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

JAKARTADAILY.ID - NASA begins its months-long research and process with the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), as reported by Reuters on Wednesday.

The mission control engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, have sent the initial commands to tiny motors equipped on the telescope called actuators.

Its principal mirror, comprising of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-plated beryllium metal of 21 feet 4 inches in diameter, will be slowly positioned and fine-tuned accordingly.

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JWST is a much larger scale compared to its predecessor, the 30-year-old Hubble Space Telescope. Originally folded within the cargo bay of the rocket that carried the telescope, the 18 segments had been unfurled within two weeks of its launch.

It will take approximately ten days to detach the segments from the fasteners, and three more months to align them all in one single light-collecting surface.

"Aligning the primary mirror segments to form one large mirror means each segment "is aligned to one-five-thousandth the thickness of a human hair", said Lee Feinberg, the Webb optical telescope element manager at Goddard.

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Moreover, the telescope's smaller and secondary mirror, which will collect lights reflected from the primary lens to its camera and other instruments, must be aligned precisely as well to collect the desired image.

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Editor: Djauhari Effendi

Source: Reuters

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