Sunshield uncovered in James Webb Space Telescope's latest deployment

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has just deployed its Aft Momentum Flap and released the covers protecting its sunshield.

Published Fri, Dec 31 2021 4:45 AM CST   |   Updated Sat, Jan 22 2022 12:40 PM CST

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has completed another two preliminary step necessary to deploy its sunshield.

Sunshield uncovered in James Webb Space Telescope's latest deployment 01 |

The previous step in ultimately deploying the JWST's sunshield was the extension of the Deployable Tower Assembly (DTA) on December 29th. On December 30th, the Aft Momentum Flap was deployed, followed by the sunshield covers being released.

The Aft Momentum Flap is used to offset some solar pressure impinging upon the large sunshield. It also helps to minimize fuel usage by the JWST. Just after 9 a.m. EST (14:00 UTC), the hold-down devices were released, and a spring drove the rotation of the aft flap into its final position. The process took about eight minutes. An animation of the deployment is viewable here.

After that, the release devices for the protective membrane covers, enveloping the sunshield, were activated. These covers protected the sunshield during the launch and while the JWST was on the ground on Earth. You can see an animation of the process here. A rundown of the entire deployment sequence is viewable on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) YouTube channel.

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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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