Engineers have finally assembled NASA‘s James Webb Space Telescope, the successor of the Hubble Observatory.
NASA said on Wednesday that the telescope once in space will detect the universe, planets and moons within our solar system, as well as the most ancient and distant galaxies.
NASA’s most powerful and complex space telescope is now mechanically connected. The next step would be to connect the two parts electrically and test the electrical connection.
“The spacecraft in the telescope and its scientific instruments, assemblies and an observatory represents an incredible feat,” said Bill Manager of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
“This milestone symbolizes the efforts of thousands of dedicated individuals for more than 20 years between NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, Northrop Grumman, and our industrial and academic partners,” Ochus said.
Next for web testing, engineers will deploy the complex five-layer sunshield, which is designed to keep web, mirrors and scientific instruments cool by blocking infrared light from Earth, the Moon, and the Sun.
The ability of the Sunshield to deploy in its correct size is critical to the success of the mission.
The fully assembled observatory will undergo additional environmental and deployment testing to ensure mission success. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2021.