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posted by janrinok on Sunday January 09, @11:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the cool! dept.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Successfully Unfolds its Massive Mirror

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope successfully unfolds its massive mirror:

The team behind the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope successfully finished unfolding the instrument's distinctive golden mirror on Saturday, meaning the telescope is now fully deployed and is one step closer to sending back data about the universe's first galaxies.

"The successful completion of all of the Webb Space Telescope's deployments is historic," Webb's program director at NASA Headquarters, Gregory L. Robinson, said in a release. "This is the first time a NASA-led mission has ever attempted to complete a complex sequence to unfold an observatory in space – a remarkable feat for our team, NASA, and the world."

NASA and its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, began remotely unfolding the two wings of Webb's primary mirror on Friday and completed the task at about 10:15 a.m. PT Saturday, when the second wing latched into place.

Over the next six months, Webb is set to travel 1 million miles from Earth and begin sending back images of the universe that promise to serve up a new, unfiltered story of the cosmos. Not only will Webb teach us about hidden regions of space, it also has the power to prove whether we've correctly documented the events that happened right after the Big Bang.

Remarkably, NASA Has Completed Deployment of the Webb Space Telescope

Remarkably, NASA has completed deployment of the Webb space telescope:

But now that ultra complex heat shield is working. The temperature on the Sun-facing side of the telescope is 55 degrees Celsius [(131 °F)], or a very, very, very hot day in the Sahara desert . And already, the science instruments on the back side of the sunshield have cooled to -199 degrees Celsius[(-326.2 °F)], a temperature at which nitrogen is a liquid. They will yet cool further.

Work remains, of course. Webb still must traverse about 370,000 km to reach an orbit around a stable Lagrange point, L2. Scientists and engineers must check out and align the 18 primary mirror segments. Scientific instruments must be calibrated. But all of this work is somewhat more routine when it comes to science spacecraft. There are risks, to be sure, but these are mostly known risks.

We can therefore be reasonably confident now that Webb will, in fact, begin to make science observations this summer. We should, truly, be in awe.


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

 
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  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @01:37AM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @01:37AM (#1211366)

    No velcro for you then... Even though your attitude seems to indicate you haven't graduated from kiddie sneakers yet.

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  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @03:14AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @03:14AM (#1211394)
    My attitude is simple - accountability. you can't bring in a job on time and on budget , you're fired and sued. Look at Boeing having to redo a launch test on their own dime. THIS should be the norm.

    NASA itself needs the same accountability. Screw up a project - take a look at whether the "new" budget would be better spent elsewhere. Science lost a decade and a half of data from all the astronomy projects that were cancelled because of NASA giving in to the sunk costs fallacy. Too big to fail.

    18x the initial cost means the original proposal was utter bs. You don't reward bullshitters. Otherwise others do the same thing, like happened with the SLS. And before these two, the space shuttle. The original shuttle proposal was 8 ships, fast turn-around, 125 flights per shuttle service life (1,000 flights over the shuttle program). It was quickly obvious that th design sucked, the payload capacity sucked, it would never be a quick turn around, and it's cost per ton to orbit was over an order of magnitude to a Saturn V. 5 launches on Saturn Vs would have orbited the entire ISS. And the Saturn V had a launch cost of $100 million per. The shuttle had a launch cost that went from $1.2 billion to $2 billion at thr end.

    And there wouldn't have needed to be pauses in space flight to develop the shuttle, or after each disaster, or to build another replacement. And no need to buy rides to space off the Russians.'

    That's the cost of lacking backbone when it comes to killing projects that suck.

    You could have had a permanent moonbase by 2005. Maybe earlier. Just by sticking with what works.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Monday January 10, @01:33PM

      by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @01:33PM (#1211482) Journal

      > My attitude is simple

      Too simple.

      > 18x the initial cost means the original proposal was utter bs.

      And where lies the fault for that? You talk as if that's NASA's fault. It's not. It's the fault of Congress critters who have totally unreasonable fantasies about the costs, difficulties, and unknowns of a project of this sort.

      The fate of the Supercollider is instructive. Its costs ballooned in a similar way. Congress kept messing with it, forcing several stoppages that caused a lot of extra cost to mothball and restart. By the time it was all over, failed, they'd blown more money on the stops and starts than it would have taken to just finish the job.

      They also have all kinds of suspicions about waste and pork. And they hypocrites on that, all too ready to add pork that might result in being re-elected. You're adding to the problems, with your crying over a $9 billion cost, while you blithely overlook a lot of far more wasteful expenditures. The defense budget is far, far worse. One, just one, F35 joint strike fighter costs at least $148 million.

      NASA would so like to shut down the ISS, and put the billions it costs to better uses, but the politicians won't hear of that. If you want to stop waste, how about injecting a bit more realism in the current fantasies of sending people to Mars? If you think a space telescope is expensive, people on Mars will be way, way more expensive. It's good to dream of such things, but right now, and for decades at the least, it's simply not feasible. Yeah, maybe we could get a few astronauts to Mars by the end of the decade if we tried really hard, but for what purpose? They would at most be doing only a very short visit. It'd be a publicity stunt. No way we could set them up for the ultimate goal of colonization. Better, much better, to keep sending rovers, for whatever further exploration of Mars that may be fruitful.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @03:57PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @03:57PM (#1211510)

      Say it after me: research is different.

      If you were talking about producing units on a production line that already existed, then your arguments are valid(ish) but you're still a dick that nobody will want to do business with. For research, you're asking people to come up with things that are not currently possible. Smart people, who you can't replace and whose achievements will last longer than the ancient memory of $1BILLION DOLLARS of fiat cash money.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday January 10, @06:32PM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @06:32PM (#1211572) Journal

        Say it after me: research is different.

        Not different enough to be relevant.

        then your arguments are valid(ish) but you're still a dick that nobody will want to do business with.

        In other words, we probably shouldn't do business with you, right? They might not want to do business with a demanding customer, but they do want that demanding customer's money. Hence, it happens.

        For research, you're asking people to come up with things that are not currently possible.

        No. Not currently done is not the same as not currently possible.

        Smart people, who you can't replace and whose achievements will last longer than the ancient memory of $1BILLION DOLLARS of fiat cash money.

        Unless, of course, you direct the efforts of those smart people onto a single $10 billion white elephant rather than multiple projects that could have been a lot more achievement. I think you miss the point of accountability.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @10:30PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @10:30PM (#1211626)

          Unless, of course, you direct the efforts of those smart people onto a single $10 billion white elephant rather than multiple projects that could have been a lot more achievement.

          Your right we could have had more vanity trips to lower orbit with in-flight meals by a renowned chef and full media entertainment package.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday January 11, @01:58AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @01:58AM (#1211673) Journal

            Your right we could have had more vanity trips to lower orbit with in-flight meals by a renowned chef and full media entertainment package.

            I sense you were trying to be sarcastic. But yes, that would be better. Same thing happened with passenger air travel and automobiles. They used to for the rich as well. Now, they've changed the world vastly for the better. Sorry, JWST just isn't going to have that impact ever.