New York City, NY – Telescope makes people see the world in a larger scale. It makes tiny objects appear as if they can be easily seen from afar, changing people’s perspective. With science’s unstoppable progress, it is often no surprise that big inventions are made every day, changing one’s life. Looking ahead to the next year, people are definitely in for the next big thing, which is the spacecraft called James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
The JWST is being tested before it officially launches to space. The spacecraft is subjected to stern quality of testing to secure its efficiency and functionality come the day when it will be launched. Just recently, it finished its latest round of tests in Houston, where it underwent terribly chilling temperatures inside a large cryogenic chamber. The purpose of this test is to imitate the extreme coldness of the outer space to prepare it for its journey outside the Earth.
In line with this, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recorded an entire nine-month time lapse of the testing processes and the delicate procedures of handling and assembling the spacecraft. A video of the highlights of the nine-month duration of the time lapse is available, where people can see how the engineers and all people involved went about the process of creating their grand invention.
The newly invented telescope is huge and intricately equipped. It is made up of 18 hexagon-shaped mirrors with gold plating. These mirrors function together to make up the main mirror of the spacecraft. They are also designed to collect light from distant areas of the universe, thus giving information to astronomers as to what and how young galaxies and stars look like.
A slight damage to the telescope will alter its functionality when it makes its way to the outer space, which is why engineers are very careful when they handle it. The mirrors are carefully folded on top of one another during the spacecraft’s ground transportation or during launch. However, during testing inside the cryogenic chambers, they are open along with the secondary mirror, which acts as the reflector of light emitted by the gold plating onto the spacecraft’s main instrument. This simulation is also going to be the formation of the spacecraft when it launches.
NASA said that even though the chamber’s opening measures 40 feet, the spacecraft’s secondary mirror scarcely passed below the roof the moment the mirrors were completely unfurled. Once inside, the door was shut and air was eliminated. The temperature was also downgraded to varying degrees, even hitting lower than 40 ° F.
After successfully completing the testing in Houston, the spacecraft is said to be transported to the facility of Northrop Grumman, which is the defense and primary contractor of JWST located in Redondo Beach, CA. Once there, more parts will also be added to the spacecraft to fully furnish it for its launch to the outer space. The telescope is said to launch to space from French Guiana next year, 2019.