The James Webb Space Telescope is currently traveling through space on its way to its final orbit around the Sun, and has almost completed the complex process of unfolding in its full form. NASA will broadcast live coverage of the final stages of deployment shortly, and we’ve got details on how you can watch at home.
Shortly after its launch on December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope separated from the rocket that began carrying it out of Earth’s atmosphere. The observatory had to be folded to fit inside the rocket, and it has come down to its final configuration over the past two weeks. The process is almost complete, and the final stages of deployment are expected today.
What to expect from deployment coverage
So far the telescope has deployed its solar array just after launch, then deployed its front and rear pallet structures that support its massive sunshield. This exposed a tower to provide separation between the spacecraft and the telescope, then a flap used for more efficient movement.
The big challenge was the deployment of the sunshield, which has five layers and is the size of a tennis court. With it positioned and tensioned, the secondary mirror was then deployed. Then a radiator was deployed, and finally the huge, hexagonal golden primary mirror was locked in place.
The final stage is the reveal of the second primary mirror wing, scheduled for today. When this is done, the primary mirror will be in place and the telescope in its final form.
How to View Coverage
NASA will livestream coverage of the final stages of James Webb’s deployment today. Coverage is scheduled to begin Saturday, January 8 at 9 a.m. ET (6am PT). Once coverage of the deployment is complete, NASA will hold a briefing with more information about the deployment process and James Webb’s work.
To watch coverage or the briefing, you can tune into NASA’s TV channel. To do this, you can use the embedded video player near the top of this page or you can go to NASA’s webpage,