James Webb Space Telescope mirror construction at the halfway stage
29 December 2015
Inside NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre's clean room in Greenbelt, Maryland, the ninth flight mirror is installed on the telescope structure using a robotic arm.
This marks the halfway completion point for the James Webb Space Telescope's segmented primary mirror - a total of 18 mirror segments will complete the telescope structure.
The engineering team is using a robotic arm to lift and lower the hexagonal-shaped segments that measure just over 1.3m across and weigh approximately 40kg. After being pieced together, the 18 primary mirror segments will work together as one large 6.5m mirror. The full installation is expected to be completed early in 2016.
The mirrors were built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. Ball is the principal subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for the optical technology and lightweight mirror system. The installation of the mirrors onto the telescope structure is performed by Harris Corporation of Rochester, New York. Harris Corporation is leading the integration and testing of the telescope.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.