After 20 years of construction, NASA finally finished building the James Webb Space Telescope.
The JWST will offer astronomers the ability to show 13.5 billion years of space history.
Now to undergo special pre-flight testing ahead of its 2018 launch.
Webb has been designed and constructed to withstand its launch environment, but it must be tested to verify that it will indeed survive and not change in any unexpected way. Making the same optical measurements both before and after simulated launch environment testing and comparing the results is fundamental to Webb’s development, assuring that it will work in space.
“This is the only test of the entire mirror where we can use the same equipment during a before and after test,” said Ritva Keski-Kuha, the test lead and NASA’s Deputy Telescope Manager for Webb at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This test will show if there are any changes or damages to the optical system.”