NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope deployment complete as mirror unfolds

James Webb Space Telescope, in artist view. See if you can spot the largest mirror ever launched into space.

NASA GSFC / CIL / Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

The team behind the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope successfully completed revealing the instrument’s distinctive golden mirror on Saturday, meaning the telescope is fully deployed now and is one step closer to sending data about the first galaxies in the universe.

“All deployments of the Webb Space Telescope have been completed with historic success,” said Gregory L. Robinson, Director of the Webb Program at NASA Headquarters, in a statement. “This is the first time that a NASA-led mission has ever attempted to complete a complex sequence of opening an observatory in space – a remarkable achievement for our team, NASA, and the world.”

NASA and its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, began remotely opening the two wings of the Web’s main mirror Friday and completed the mission at approximately 10:15 a.m. PT on Saturday, when the second wing settled into place.

The mirror, made up of 18 hexagons and measuring 21 feet, is the largest ever launched into space, with the telescope itself the largest and most complex space science telescope in the world, NASA said. After the team carefully aligns the clips and calibrates the other instruments, the telescope can begin sending out its first images, which it is expected to do this summer.

Read more: Why the Webb Telescope is a huge event in astronomy

Built to look back more than 13.5 billion years, the telescope captures infrared light from stars and other celestial bodies, with better accuracy than ever before. It is an “unprecedented mission on the verge of seeing light from the first galaxies and discovering the mysteries of our universe,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.

Opening of the primary mirror unfolds after preparing other $10 billion telescope items It was launched on December 25th. These items include five thin layers of Sun visor the size of a tennis courtDesigned to prevent unwanted heat signals produced by the Sun, Earth, and Moon from spoiling Webb’s infrared readings.

Over the next six months, Webb is set to travel a million miles from Earth and begin sending back images of the universe that promise to provide a new, unfiltered story of the universe. Not only will Webb teach us about hidden regions of space, he also has the ability to prove whether we documented events that occurred immediately after the Big Bang.

CNET’s Monisha Ravesiti contributed to this report.

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