NASA’s Plans for Webb Space Telescope Deployment – Is It Possible?

Thousands of parts must work precisely, in sequence, to open NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope into its final configuration, all while it flies to its destination nearly 1 million miles away. Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Editor’s Note: This advice was updated December 30 to reflect the addition of a media teleconference once Webb’s sun visors are fully deployed, no earlier than Sunday, May 2. first.

Over the next two or so weeks, NASA will cover broadcasts, media briefings, and other updates on key launch milestones for the James Webb Space Telescope, the science telescope The largest and most powerful space in the world.

Broadcasts of key events will be broadcast live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency website.

Webb, an international partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency, launched on December 25 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The observatory has been folded, origami style, to fit an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket for launch. Webb is currently in the midst of a complex and intricate process unfolding in space, as it travels nearly 1 million miles to its destination, the second Lagrange point, or L2.

Webb’s deployment sequence is a human-controlled process that gives the team the flexibility to pause, evaluate data, and adjust as needed. As a result, the timing and order of all landmarks may change. NASA will host a live broadcast to mark the following milestones, with specific times and dates updated as they approach:

  • Stretch sunscreen: The full deployment of the visor, the most challenging element for Webb, will mark a major milestone for the mission. This step is scheduled to be completed approximately eight days after launch, no earlier than Sunday, January 2.
  • Implement the secondary mirror support structure: The support structure that holds the secondary mirror in a position to focus light collected by the primary mirror is set to deploy approximately 10 days after launch, no earlier than Tuesday, January 4.
  • Webb Deployment Complete: With the opening of Webb’s second main mirror, the Webb team will complete all observatory deployments. This is expected to happen about 13 days after launch, no earlier than Friday, January 7th.

NASA provides regular updates on the Webb . telescope Blog. The public can also monitor Webb’s deployments online through a “Where is Webb?“Interactive tracking and a Deployment Explorer.

NASA press conferences

NASA will hold the following introductory press conferences following key implementation milestones:

  • A media conference as soon as possible after the end of Webb’s live broadcast of the tarp stretch, no earlier than Sunday, January 2. To participate by phone , media must respond no later than noon EST Sunday, January 2, to Laura Betz at: [email protected].
  • A media briefing as soon as possible after the end of the live broadcast of Webb’s final deployments, no earlier than Friday, January 7.

The agency will determine the timing of these briefings as how to approach implementation milestones and will stream events on website.

From NASA media recognition policy for virtual activities available online.

Interaction on social networks

Members of the public can stay connected to the mission and let people know about Webb’s rollout on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with #UnfoldTheUniverse. Follow and tag these accounts:

Additional Webb resources:

The Webb mission will explore every phase of the universe’s history – from the interior of the solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe and everything in between. Webb will reveal new and unexpected discoveries and help humanity understand the origins of the universe and our place in it.

For more information about the Webb mission, visit:


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