NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Mirror, Mirror

When last I updated, the James Webb Space Telescope’s primary mirror was under construction here at NASA Goddard. I believe we were on mirror segment number five.

I’m very pleased to say that the primary mirror assembly was officially completed on February 3, 2016! Here are a few more photos from the assembly process, as well as cool time-lapse video.

(All images are credit NASA/Chris Gunn.)

Six mirrors – note that JWST’s mirrors are actually gold-coated to optimize them for infrared light. In order to protect the mirrors during installtion, they put temporary covers on them, that’s why they look like they are matte black in these photos.
Six Installed James Webb Space Telescope Mirrors

Seven mirrors:
MIrror Installation #7

Nine mirrors – halfway done!
Mirror Installation #9

Mirror Installation #9

Mirror Installation #11

Twelve – making the center section of the mirror complete, with just the wings to go:
Mirror Installation #12

Mirror Installation #12

The eighteenth and final mirror!
The last James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Segment

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Fully Assembled

An animated gif of the JWST mirror scoreboard, which shows the order of assembly and the dates each mirror was completed. Credit: graphics by NASA, animation by Alberto Conti

Animation of JWST Mirror Assembly

Here is the time-lapse of the JWST mirror assembly:

What’s next for JWST? As we speak, the secondary mirror is being installed – it’s the round mirror that goes at the end of that long boom. Then the Aft Optics Subsystem, the piece that goes at the center of the primary mirror, which holds the tertiary and fine steering mirrors, will be attached. Then there are a few more years of testing and assembly of the spacecraft to do, before launch in October of 2018! The full overview is here on the JWST site.

You can stay up to date on the latest developments by following JWST on social media. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Comments are closed.

NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration