Webb Telescope Backplane Arrives at NASA Goddard for Assembly

Webb Telescope Backplane Arrives at NASA Goddard for Assembly

The James Webb Space Telescope's "spine" or backplane arrived on August 25, 2015 at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland from Northrop Grumman. The backplane is responsible for holding its 18 hexagonal mirrors and instruments steady while the telescope is looking into deep space. Once settled in the large clean room at Goddard, the backplate will be hoisted onto an assembly stand. In late fall, Webb's flight mirrors will be placed by a robotic arm onto the backplane. Together, those 18 mirror make up Webb's "primary mirror." Along with the secondary, tertiary and fine steering mirrors, this primary mirror comprises a telescope that will help scientists observe the formation of the first stars and galaxies more than 13.5 billion years ago. The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. NASA Photo by Chris Gunn/UPI