James Webb Telescope Model at South by Southwest

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble, is the largest space telescope to ever be built, as big as a tennis court and as tall as a four-story building. Image © NASA/Chris Gunn

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A full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope model was on display from March 8-10 at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.

The James Webb Space Telescope is a large space telescope, optimized for infrared wavelengths. It is scheduled for launch later in this decade. Webb will find the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Webb will peer through dustyclouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own Solar System. Webb’s instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range.

Webb will have a large mirror, 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) in diameter, and a sunshield the size of a tennis court. The mirror and sunshade won’t fit into a rocket fully open, so both will be folded and open once Webb is in outer space. Webb will reside in an orbit about 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from the Earth at the second Lagrange point.

The James Webb Space Telescope was named after a former NASA Administrator.

James Webb Telescope support structure that will hold Webb's mirror segments.Image © ATK

Engineers at ATK work on the center section of the “backplane” support structure that will hold Webb’s mirror segments.

James Webb TelescopeImage © NASA/Ball Aerospace/Tinsley

This image shows the four different types of mirrors on the Webb telescope. From left to right are: a primary mirror segment, the secondary mirror, tertiary mirror and the fine steering mirror. The bottom right shows an artist’s conception of the Webb telescope optics with its 18 primary mirror segments. 

source NASA