Engineers have begun the multi-day unfurling and deployment of the sun shield on the James Webb Space Telescope.
The first step is to deploy two booms on each side of the telescope that draw the shield itself outward.
The deployment of the first boom was held up several hours to give engineers time to make sure the protective covers had, in fact, rolled off to the side of the sunshade pallets as required.
“Switches that should have indicated that the cover rolled up did not trigger when they were supposed to,” NASA said in a blog post. “However, secondary and tertiary sources offered confirmation that it had.”
“The deployment of the five telescoping segments of the motor-driven mid-boom began around 1:30 p.m., and the arm extended smoothly until it reached full deployment,” NASA said.
Engineers then sent commands to deploy the second sunshade boom, which extended smoothly and locked in place at 10:13 p.m., finally giving Webb its iconic kite-like shape.
Next the shield has to be tightened in place, which will also separate and tighten in place the shield’s five layers. According to the schedule, the four layers will be tensioned today, with the fifth tomorrow.
The step-by-step deployment is outlined in detail here, and updates to the most recently completed step after it is finished.
I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.
Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.
You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
Cortaro, AZ 85652
Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.