The James Webb Space Telescope is currently traveling through space en route to its final orbit around the sun, and it has almost completed the complex process of unfolding its full form. NASA will be broadcasting live coverage of the final stages of the deployment shortly, and we’ve got the details on how you can watch from home.
Shortly after launching on December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope separated from the rocket that had carried it out of Earth’s atmosphere and began to deploy. The observatory had to be folded back to fit inside the rocket, and over the past two weeks it has deployed into its final configuration. This process is almost complete and the final stages of the deployment are expected to take place today.
What to expect from deployment coverage
So far, the telescope has deployed its solar panel right after launch, then deployed its front and rear pallet structures that support its enormous sun visor. He unfolded a tower to ensure separation between the spacecraft and the telescope, then a flap used for more efficient movement.
The big challenge was the deployment of the sun visor, which has five layers and is the size of a tennis court. Once it was deployed and tensioned, the secondary mirror was then deployed. Then there was the deployment of a radiator, and finally the huge hexagonal golden primary mirror began to lock into place.
The final step is the deployment of the second primary mirror wing, which is scheduled for today. When this is done, the primary mirror will be in place and the telescope will be in its final shape.
How to look at the cover
NASA will live stream coverage of the final stages of James Webb’s deployment today. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. ET (6 a.m. PT) on Saturday, January 8. Once the deployment coverage is complete, NASA will host a briefing with more information on the deployment process and the work James Webb will be doing.
To watch the coverage or the briefing, you can tune into the NASA TV channel. To do this, you can use the built-in video player at the top of this page or you can head to The NASA web page.