Webb deployment resumes, with continuing success

After a day delay to assess the telescope’s earlier operation in space, engineers yesterday resumed the deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope’s sun shield.

First they began tensioning the shield’s first of five layers, completing that operation in about five and a half hours.

Next the engineers proceeded to tighten layers two and three, completing that task in about three hours.

Today they have begun tightening the last two layers. A live stream of this slow and relatively unexciting process (as long as nothing goes wrong) is available from NASA here.

Based on what has been done so far, it appears that the deployment of the sun shield, considered the most challenging part of Webb’s deployment, is going to complete successfully. While the unfolding and deployment of the mirror still must be done, getting the sun shield deployed eliminates one of the great concerns that has kept both astronomers and engineers awake nights for decades.