James Webb Space Telescope completes tricky sunshield deployment

The James Webb Space Telescope has successfully deployed all five layers of its tennis-court-sized sunshield, a prerequisite for the telescope’s science operations and the most nerve-wracking part of its risky deployment.

The challenging procedure, which required careful tensioning of each of the five hair-thin layers of the elaborate sunshield structure was a seamless success today (Jan. 4). Its completion brought huge relief to the thousands of engineers involved in the project over its three decades of development, as well as the countless scientists all over the world who eagerly await Webb’s groundbreaking observations.