Here Are Some Key Milestones After Liftoff For James Webb Space Telescope Launch

Both immediately after launch and over the following weeks, the James Webb Space telescope will pass through numerous milestones on its journey of approximately 1 million miles to its final orbit around the second Lagrange point, commonly known as L2. (NASA Image)

FRENCH GUIANA (NASA) – Both immediately after launch and over the following weeks, the James Webb Space telescope will pass through numerous milestones on its journey of approximately 1 million miles to its final orbit around the second Lagrange point, commonly known as L2.

NASA has a detailed plan to deploy the Webb Space Telescope over a roughly two-week period. For details on any particular milestone – or to get updates on how far along Webb is in the process – please read about the deployments here. You may also watch a visualization.

The process involves hundreds of individual deployments. It is not an automatic, hands-off sequence; it is human-controlled. This means that the order, location, timing, and duration of deployments may change. However, the default order and approximate timing is as follows:

First hour:
Liftoff
~9 minutes: main stage separation
~27 minutes: upper stage separation
~33 minutes: solar array deployed

First Day
~12.5 hours: Midcourse correction burn (MCC1a)
~1 day: Release and motion test of the gimbaled antenna assembly

. . . and on
2 days: Midcourse correction burn (MCC1 b)
3 days: Forward sunshield pallet deployment
3 days: Aft sunshield pallet deployment
4 days: Deployable tower assembly
5 days: Aft momentum flap
5 days: Sunshield covers release
6 days: Sunshield port mid-boom and sunshield starboard mid-boom
7 days: Sunshield layer tensioning begins
8 days: Sunshield layer tensioning complete
10 days: Secondary mirror deployment begins and is completed
11 days: Aft Deployed Instrument Radiator
12 days: Port primary mirror wing deployment begins and is completed
13 days: Starboard primary mirror wing deployment begins and is completed
13 days: Webb is fully deployed
15-24 days: Individual mirror segment movements
29 days: Midcourse correction burn (MCC2)/L2 insertion burn
29.5 days: Orbit insertion complete

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