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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: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @02:40AM (11 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @02:40AM (#1211386)
    And how much knowledge have we lost because of Webb sucking up funding? There's a huge lost opportunity cost here; NASA couldn't stuck to it's new mantra of faster, cheaper, better.

    We'll probably never know. And for what? Administrators who couldn't properly manage a project. Maybe we could have discovered life on Mars by now. Or in the upper clouds of Venus. Or orbited a half dozen Hubbles and had better chances of lioking at the right place at the right time when something weird happens that could change our fundamental understanding of the universe.

    Those are opportunities that are gone.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:17AM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:17AM (#1211407)

    There is no faster, better, cheaper. You only get to pick two of those three.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday January 10, @06:42AM (7 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @06:42AM (#1211441) Journal
      And yet, SpaceX showed us it was possible to get all three. There's something wrong with the narrative.
      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday January 10, @07:37AM (2 children)

        by mhajicek (51) on Monday January 10, @07:37AM (#1211454)

        I believe SpaceX should be putting up orbital telescopes on its own dime, as a public relations device. Let universities use them for free, and people might stop complaining so much about Starlink satellites blocking the view. Should be pretty cheap for them.

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @01:55PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @01:55PM (#1211487)

          They've had the benefit of an awful lot of money that wasn't their own dime too. The narrative and mythology that has developed around them, and particularly Musk, is remarkable. Same with Tesla. Musk greatly complains about all the government money he receives, and he is totally unhappy to take it, but he has to because it is there, and that is why he wants all those EV subsidies to end now (that other companies are using them to establish their own products has nothing to do with that). One big advantage SpaceX has is that it can build the infrastructure and workforce it needs in a very targeted manner whereas the ULA companies have facilities and workforces that have been built up over decades. Starlink has great advantages in that gets to use his monopolistic position to launch them, and he's ignoring the regulators in a great land grab; he'll have established the monopolistic position in space and will be "too big to fail." A great advantage Tesla has over GM and others is that they can generate a quarter of their profits from cryptocurrency market manipulations. Musk acts very similarly to Microsoft of the 90s, but one difference is that Gates didn't have Twitter back then and perhaps if he did, he would have been able to drive his narrative and develop an army of idolators (I recall it being mostly the media that were in love with him back then). The ends are allowed to justify the means for Musk, at least around here, while others have gotten vilified for that.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday January 10, @04:48PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @04:48PM (#1211530) Journal

            Musk greatly complains about all the government money he receives, and he is totally unhappy to take it, but he has to because it is there, and that is why he wants all those EV subsidies to end now (that other companies are using them to establish their own products has nothing to do with that).

            You're free to call his bluff and end those subsidies for everyone.

            One big advantage SpaceX has is that it can build the infrastructure and workforce it needs in a very targeted manner whereas the ULA companies have facilities and workforces that have been built up over decades.

            Think about why that is an advantage. The ULA facilities and workforces are optimized for extracting public funds not for launching stuff into space.

            The ends are allowed to justify the means for Musk, at least around here, while others have gotten vilified for that.

            The means aren't half bad (only real complaints are the quantity of stuff in orbit and that he works people pretty hard) and it results in cheap rockets launching a lot of stuff into orbit. SpaceX is doing. It's not other peoples' money that made that happen.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:38PM (#1211526)

        SpaceX isn't a Congressional pork project. When pork is the objective then it becomes slower, worse, and more expensive, pick all three. I can say 'worse' here because while the JWST is amazing, it is amazing for twenty year old tech. Had they optimized for faster/better/cheaper then it would have launched fifteen years ago and we'd be on the second or third generation of the technology today.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday January 10, @05:26PM (2 children)

        Some of the SpaceX launches for the DoD cost over 20x the going rate.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday January 10, @06:01PM (1 child)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @06:01PM (#1211559) Journal

          Some of the SpaceX launches for the DoD cost over 20x the going rate.

          The DoD would be paying for a lot more than just a launch. They're probably paying for everyone on the launch team to have security clearances, for example, and a higher reliability launch.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday January 11, @04:08PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @04:08PM (#1211792) Journal
            Come to think of it, SpaceX is probably throwing away the first stage too. You can boost a little more, if you don't reserve propellant for booster reuse.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:06PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:06PM (#1211516)

      There is no faster, better, cheaper. You only get to pick two of those three.

      Bullshit. It's one -- at best.