NASA Moves Forward With Webb Space Telescope Sunshield Tensioning

Webb Sunshield Deployment Animation

Webb Sunshield Deployment Animation. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

Today, the Webb mission operations team initiated the tensioning of the sunshield’s first layer, a process that will take several days to complete for all five layers.

The Webb mission operations team began the first steps in the process of tensioning the first layer of Webb’s sunshield this morning around 10 a.m. EST.

It will take the team two to three days to tension the five-layer sunshield. The plan for today is to focus on the first layer, the largest and the one closest to the Sun.

This critical step in the observatory’s complex sequence of deployments resumed after Webb mission managers paused deployment operations on Saturday to allow for team rest, and then again on Sunday to make adjustments to Webb’s power subsystem and to alter the observatory’s attitude to lower the temperature of the motors that drive the tensioning process.

NASA’s Webb project manager Bill Ochs, Northrop Grumman’s vehicle engineering lead Amy Lo, and NASA’s Webb program director Greg Robinson provided more information about Webb’s first week in space and upcoming deployments in this teleconference held earlier today.

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