Deployment of Webb Space Telescope’s mirror’s successful, but we’re not there yet

January 20, 2022 • 11:00 am

The toughest bit, though seems past: successfully unfolding the entire mirror of the Webb Space Telescope was the most delicate of all its operations, since nothing could fail without endangering the scope’s usefulness. And nothing did! NASA has reported, along with many other sites, that the main mirror deployment is, as they say, “nominal.”  From

JWST’s golden primary mirror includes 18 individual hexagonal segments, each controlled by seven actuators that allow precise movements. All 18 segments are now in their deployed positions several days sooner than scheduled.

Work began on the mirror segments on Jan. 12 and was expected to take about 10 days. But despite today’s announcement, those mirror segments aren’t quite ready to observe yet. First, NASA must conduct the painstaking process of fine-tuning every mirror’s position to turn 18 individual views of the universe into one large ultra-powerful mirror.

The team behind Webb expects that the entire mirror process will take about three months, all told.

Here’s a NASA video of the immensely complicated process of aligning all the mirrors once they’ve unfolded. I have faith in the Telescope Humans that all will be well.


If this works okay, and nothing else goes wrong, in a few months the scope will be in position and ready to send data. There is one more important maneuver:

Webb has one more key deployment milestone to complete, a trajectory burn that will insert the observatory into orbit around a spot in space dubbed the Earth-sun Lagrange point 2, or L2. L2 is located nearly 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth, on the side of the planet opposite the sun.

According to a NASA timeline, JWST is expected to complete this final arrival maneuver on Sunday (Jan. 23).

A good site to follow is “Where is Webb?” NASA’s real-time timeline of the mission showing the location of the scope and what it’s doing. Below is a screenshot that you can click on to see where Webb is now. It’s approaching “L2 insertion” on the right! Click on the photo to enlarge it.


11 thoughts on “Deployment of Webb Space Telescope’s mirror’s successful, but we’re not there yet

  1. Bravo NASA. It still amazes me that not only are we making it work (fingers crossed), but we’re navigating this thing to a precise orbital location 4x as far away from the Earth as the moon.

  2. I am beginning to believe ….
    It has been fun to watch the step by step deployment procedure. I am still trying to wrap my head around LaGrange points, but as I understand it they are sites where opposing forces of gravity are cancelled out, and a satellite can be parked in one without having to use much fuel to correct its position.

  3. That last L2 insertion burn is a major milestone to watch. I suspect there are still a lot of things that could go wrong. Although they tested as many systems as possible before launch, the inability to duplicate all the conditions of space on the ground make this hard. Fingers remain crossed.

  4. Fabulous, Awesome, Terrific, and just think, no fictional deities, sky-fairies, or non-existent supernatural entity’s at all were involved in this process! It was Science, Science, Science, 100 hundred percent Science – no holy books, Wow! It’s to bad we can’t be so smart about our economic systems, Politics, and saving our Beautiful Planet!

    1. It’s strange how two different people can get an entirely different picture. I have been thinking that God has opened the mind of science to prove the Bible true for those who seem to doubt. If everything goes ok, we will get to see what King Solomon recorded from the inspiration of God in Proverbs 8:22-31 about the creation about 3000 years ago when only God knew what went on during his creation of the Universe and life. God was the first scientist and the universe and life was his project to grow souls to populate heaven. Too bad, the majority don’t “get it” and will end up in eternal hell. Maybe this mission of the JWST will open their eyes to the Truth so that they will have enough time to turn their lives around before it’s too late.

      1. Well, let’s inquire. As I often ask new theists who post here, please answer these questions

        a. What evidence besides the Bible gives you such strong belief in God?
        b. Why do you think that Christianity is the correct religion and religions like Scientology, Hinduism, or cargo cults are wrong?
        c. Do you accept instantaneous creation 3,000 years ago. If you think we didn’t evolve through naturalistic process, why do you deny the mountains of evidence for evolution?

        1. A. … How did the writers of the Bible know what to write about the creation, when all that they could see was the sun, the moon, and the night sky? They were inspired by God, The creator of it all.
          B. … The Christian Bible tells the complete story and gets it right according to what we see I our own generation.
          C. … We did evolve through a natural process called Creation from the laws of God which include Physics and Chemistry.
          D. … What is your ideas about the natural process and where did it get it’s laws of physics?

          1. A. How do you know they got it right? WRONG ANSWER
            B. Why doesn’t the Qur’an or the Bhagavad Gita get it right? WRONG ANSWER
            C. You have no reason to assume that the physical laws came from god WRONG ANWSER
            D. Natural selection, and, unlike you, I don’t pretend to know where the laws of physics came from. Maybe things just “are that way”.

            If you’re going to play that game, where did God come from?

            Sorry, you fail. I suggest you go read BioLogos, where you’ll find a community more to your spiritual tastes.

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