NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Fully Assembled

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Fully Assembled

The 18th and final primary mirror segment is installed on what will be the biggest and most powerful space telescope ever launched. The final mirror installation which took place on February 3, 2016 at NASAÕs Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland marks an important milestone in the assembly of the agencyÕs James Webb Space Telescope. ÒScientists and engineers have been working tirelessly to install these incredible, nearly perfect mirrors that will focus light from previously hidden realms of planetary atmospheres, star forming regions and the very beginnings of the Universe,Ó said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASAÕs Science Mission Directorate in Washington. ÒWith the mirrors finally complete, we are one step closer to the audacious observations that will unravel the mysteries of the Universe.Ó Using a robotic arm reminiscent of a claw machine, the team meticulously installed all of Webb's primary mirror segments onto the telescope structure. Each of the hexagonal-shaped mirror segments measures just over 4.2 feet (1.3 meters) across -- about the size of a coffee table -- and weighs approximately 88 pounds (40 kilograms). Once in space and fully deployed, the 18 primary mirror segments will work together as one large 21.3-foot diameter (6.5-meter) mirror. NASA Photo by Chris Gunn/UPI