The James Webb Space Telescope team successfully fully deployed its iconic 6.4-metre, gold-coated primary mirror, completing the final stage of all major spacecraft deployments to prepare for science operations.
“The successful unfolding of the Webb telescope has been a complex but impressive engineering masterpiece. On behalf of ESA, I want to sincerely congratulate our colleagues at NASA for this achievement. Webb is an international partnership led by NASA, where ESA is providing key contributions in the form of instruments, science teams and, very importantly, a successful launch on Christmas Day from the European Spaceport in Kourou. I am grateful to NASA, CSA and our European team including CNES, Arianespace and ArianeGroup for this excellent cooperation,” says Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General.
The two wings of Webb’s primary mirror were folded to fit inside the fairing of an ESA-provided Ariane 5 rocket prior to launch. After more than a week of other critical spacecraft deployments, the Webb team began remotely unfolding the hexagonal mirror segments of the largest mirror ever launched into space.
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