After several tense days of unfurling and clicking its various parts into place, the biggest and most sophisticated space telescope ever launched is now complete.
On 8 January, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope slowly swung the last 3 of its 18 hexagonal mirror segments into position, locking them together into one 6.5-metre-wide, gold-coated cosmic eye. The move capped an essentially flawless two weeks of engineering manoeuvres—the most complex astronomical deployments ever attempted in space—since the telescope’s Christmas Day launch.
“The Webb deployments have been perfect,” says Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s astrophysics division in Washington DC.
“I am feeling absolutely elated,” says Antonella Nota, the European Space Agency’s project scientist for Webb. "We are now all part of history as we watch this magnificent machine getting ready to explore the Universe.”
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