NASA has revealed that James Webb Space Telescope (JST) is at 850,000 miles of its 9 million-mile trip through space.

Nearly a month has passed since the $10 billion Webb telescope was launched into space. It is now close to its end, something which happened much faster than anticipated.

Webb was larger than a tennis court, so it had to be folded to fit in the Ariane 5 rocket. It launched Christmas Day 2021 from France’s European Space Agency Spaceport. 

Slowly, the structure is unfolding.  

“All 18 segments of the primary and secondary mirrors are fully deployed!” In a Wednesday tweet, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated that all 18 primary mirror segments and the secondary mirror were now fully deployed.

“Congratulations to all the teams who worked hard since launch in order to achieve this goal. Webb is set to move into L2 very soon.

The James Webb Space Telescope has deployed all of its mirrors and is now 850,000 miles into its million-mile journey through space, NASA revealed

NASA announced that the James Webb Space Telescope is 850,000 miles in its one-million-mile space journey.

NASA’s James Webb Telescope deployed its 70-foot sunshield successfully 

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope successfully deployed its huge 70-foot sunshield.

Announcing that the five sunshield layers are all fully tensioned.

The motor-driven cables took only one-and-a-half days to pull the layers of ultra-thinness together.

The sunshield – about the size of a tennis court at full size – was folded to fit inside the payload area of an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket’s nose.

This shield features small, transparent plastic sheets that are as thin as human hairs and coated with reflective metallic. It provides protection of up to SPF1 million. 

Five layers of sunshield protect the telescope against the heat and light from Earth, Sun, and Moon, while keeping scientific instruments below -380° Fahrenheit. 

One 18-part hexagonal segment makes up the famed golden mirror. Astronomers have used it for over a century.

Seven actuators allow each of the segments to be controlled. All of them are now in the deployed position. 

NASA expects the first images to be released in May. This was several days before NASA had expected.

The US space agency started work on the installation of the mirror segments in January 12. It was originally scheduled to take 10 working days. However, it completed the task within a week.

But, the telescope can’t begin to observe, so there needs to be some painstaking fine tuning in order to ensure that every mirror position is properly turned, creating a single super-powerful mirror.

This process will take approximately three months. After that, it will require testing and calibration of other equipment, as well cooling down the observatory. 

James Webb Space Telescope, which blasted off from Guiana Space Centre on Christmas Day, has now fully deployed its 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror.

By aligning the segments of primary mirrors to make one larger mirror, each segment is ‘aligned at one-five-thousandth of the thicknesses of a human’.

To work as part of an optical system, the telescope’s secondary mirror must be aligned. It is designed to reflect light from Webb’s primary lens onto Webb’s camera.

James Webb should capture its first science image in May after the fine tuning. The images will then need to be processed for another month before release to the public. 

There is still one significant milestone left to reach: the trajectory burn to place it in L2 orbit. This will be a mile from Earth.

It will observe distant worlds, as well the youngest stars and the oldest parts, while it sits on the side opposite the sun. 

NASA says it is expected to finish this last movement to reach L2 on January 23. 

James Webb's primary mirror consists of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-plated beryllium metal, and measures 21 feet 4 inches (6.5 metres) in diameter. It is supported by three shallow carbon fiber tubes, or struts, that extend out from the large primary mirror, which is comprised of 18 hexagonal segments

James Webb’s primary reflection measures 21 feet (4 inches) wide and 6.5 meters in height. It is composed of 18 sections of hexagonal beryllium metallic, which has been gold-plated. Three carbon fiber tubes or struts support it from the main mirror which is made up of 18 hexagonal segments.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt (Maryland) sent their first commands to small motors known as actuators. These tiny motors slowly move and adjust the principal mirror of the telescope.

These actuators have been built to move incrementally at temperatures as low as -400°F (-240°C) in the vacuum of space.  

NASA describes Webb as “the premier space-science observatory” in the next decade. It will view the cosmos using the infrared spectrum and can gaze through clouds made of dust and gas to see where stars are born. 

Hubble’s predecessor, however, has been operating primarily at ultraviolet and optical wavelengths since 1990.

The five-layered sunshield will protect the telescope from the light and heat of the sun, Earth and moon, but keeping its scientific instruments below -380 degrees Fahrenheit

Five-layered, multi-layered shield will protect your telescope from heat, light, and radiation. It also keeps its scientific instruments below -380 degree Fahrenheit.

The 18 segments making up the primary mirror had to be folded together to fit inside the cargo bay of the rocket that carried the telescope to space

For the telescope to go into space, it was necessary to fold the 18 sections of the primary mirror together.

NASA 's revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope has successfully lifted off to start its long flight into space to replace the Hubble telescope after decades of planning and delays

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a revolutionary NASA instrument has lifted off successfully to begin its long journey into space. It will replace the Hubble telescope. This is after years of delays and planning.

Instruments at the James Webb Space Telescope 

NIRCamNear InfraRed Cam (Near InfraRed Imager) An infrared imaging device that takes images at the edges of the visible and near infrared.  

NIRSpecThe NIR Spectrograph will perform spectroscopy in the same wavelength range. 

MIRIThe Mid-InfraRed Indicator will measure mid-to long-infrared wavelengths from 5 to 27 millimeters.

FGS/NIRISSIt is used during science observation to stabilise the line-of sight of the observatory (Fine Guidance sensor, Near Infrared imager and Slitless Scotrograph).  

Webb can see at greater distances than Hubble and therefore further back in time than Hubble.

This will bring into view a glimpse of the cosmos never previously seen – dating to just 100 million years after the Big Bang, the theoretical flashpoint that set in motion the expansion of the observable universe an estimated 13.8 billion years ago.

The new space telescope has been developed at a cost of $8.8 billion (£6.6 billion), with operational expenses projected to bring its total price tag to about $9.66 billion (£7.2 billion), according to Reuters.

This orbiting infrared observatory will be 100 times stronger than the Hubble Space telescope.

NASA prefers to see James Webb more as an extension of Hubble than as a replacement. They will continue to work together for some time. 

JWST is an international collaboration between NASA and the Canadian and European space agencies. It was launched in 1996. 

James Webb was developed in 1996. It was initially planned to launch in 2007. However, a major redesign of 2005 forced this delay. 

In 2016, construction was completed. A lengthy period of testing was then initiated, which was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.   


James Webb’s telescope was described by some as a “time machine” that can help uncover the mysteries of our universe.

It will allow you to see back into the beginning of the universe over 13.5 billion years, to examine the stars, planets, moons, and other sources in our solar system.

The vast telescope, which has already cost more than $7 billion (£5 billion), is considered a successor to the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope

The James Webb Telescope and most of its instruments have an operating temperature of roughly 40 Kelvin – about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius). 

Officials say the cost may exceed the $8 billion (£5.6 billion) program cap set by Congress. The space agency has already poured $7 billion (£5 billion) into the telescope. 

It will launch in 2021 and be the largest telescope on the planet, capable of looking back to 200 million years from the Big Bang.