After two long decades from inception to construction, work on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is finally completed and stored at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The telescope, which is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, will now undergo testing to make sure it can handle the conditions in deep space. Some of the tests include vibration, cryogenic, and noise tests, as well as simulated launches. After testing is complete, it will be attached to the sunshield and spacecraft bus for its scheduled launch in 2018.
JWST was built using a new material made of 18 gold-plated beryllium segments that will retain its shape and can handle harsh conditions.
Scientists will use the telescope to study the universe using both red and infrared light. The first thing the telescope will be used for, though, is studying Alpha Centauri. JWST will be launched in October of 2018 and will take about six months before it sends back any photos.
Source: Popular Mechanics