JWST Mirrors

The 18 mirror segments of the James Webb Space Telescope are currently being slowly moved from their safely stowed positions at launch to their fully deployed positions. They move about a millimeter per day. You can watch the progress here.

If you are interested in delving into the history and development of these mirrors, NASA has a lengthy and very complete web site explaining with text, diagrams, and short videos. I found it well-worth reading. Follow this link.

Photo: NASA/Chris Gunn

7 thoughts on “JWST Mirrors

  1. I think the construction and operation of the JWST is likely to go down in history as one of the top all-time triumphs of technology alongside just a few others, like jet aircraft, the ISS, the nuclear submarine, GPS, and the microchip. It has the distinction of being the only one of that group whose development was motivated by the desire for basic knowledge. Considering the state of politics now, that gives me some hope for humanity.

    • It has taken a long time to go from an idea to implementation. Whole careers have been involved. It is such an impressive feat. I am so looking forward to the science.

  2. I’ve been fascinated watching the velocity of Webb drop from over 4 km/s after launch to currently just over 250 m/s. I’m assuming this cruising speed is relative to Earth and that the deceleration is due mainly to Earth’s gravitational pull. I’m also wondering what it’s speed will be in six days time, just before it reaches LG2 and insertion burns take place to place it in orbit around….nothing.

    • My understanding is that JWST doesn’t come to full stop at L2. It does an orbital motion there around L2. I need to look further into the dynamics. Operations is careful not to overshoot as there is not enough fuel to get back.

      • Yes, it will be travelling very slowly as it approaches L2 and will then be nudged into orbit around that point. Quite a feat.

        I know that this has been done before by other space probes. WMAP spent time at L2. The Trojan Asteroids do this at Jupiter’s L4 and L5. However, I still have difficulty coming to grips with understanding the concept of a spacecraft orbiting an empty point in space. 😵

  3. An amazing human endeavour. Just think if we could come together and use this kind of problem solving with some of the issues on earths surface.

I'd like to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.