The next step of Webb's sunshield unfolding has been completed

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has finished deploying its Deployable Tower Assembly (DTA), separating its two sections.

Published Thu, Dec 30 2021 12:30 AM CST   |   Updated Fri, Jan 21 2022 5:30 AM CST

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) just took another step closer to deploying its sunshield.

The next step of Webb's sunshield unfolding has been completed 01 |

On December 29th, the Deployable Tower Assembly (DTA) was successfully deployed aboard the observatory. It extends 1.22 meters (4 feet) and connects the two halves of the telescope. The DTA's movement allows for the separation between the telescope and the rest of the spacecraft, necessary for there to be room for the sunshield membranes to unfold.

The extra distance also allows for better thermal isolation for the upper section of the observatory, which houses the mirrors and scientific instruments. They need to be cooled to extremely low temperatures to detect the infrared light that the JWST will be observing.

The deployment took over six and a half hours, with engineers completing preliminary steps, including activating release devices, configuring heaters, software and electronics before using a motor to move the DTA. The deployment began at 9:45 a.m. EST and was completed around 4:24 p.m. EST.

You can see a visualization of the deployment in this animation by NASA. You can keep up to date with the latest instrument deployments here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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