World's largest space telescope now under construction in Utah

Technicians complete the primary mirror backplane support structure wing assemblies for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope at ATK's Space Components facility in Magna, Utah. ATK recently completed the fabrication of the primary mirror backplane support structure wing assemblies for prime contractor Northrop Grumman on the Webb telescope. Photo: Northrop Grumman/ATK, via NASA.

Aerospace contractor Alliant Techsystems is building what will be the world's largest space telescope in Magna, Utah. When completed, the James Webb Space Telescope is designed to be at least 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, and will open our eyes to never-before-seen planets and galaxies. There's a Webb cam (hurr hurr, get it?) on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope website, where you can observe the construction process. They reached one big milestone on Friday, with the completion of a support structure wing, shown in the photograph above. (Thanks, @bwjones!)


    1.  Are you kidding?  You’ll even be able to see Romney’s political career.  THAT’S how powerful this thing is.

        1. I think it’s more apt to say that Romney is “far out” rather than small and inconsequential, but both may be accurate.

  1. It’s quite an ambitious project. The idea is to build this huge Rube Goldberg contraption for many billions of dollars, then send it to a Lagrange point far away from Earth so that it will be inaccessible by repair crews, then tell it to unfurl itself and start working, with no human intervention.

    A tall order.

    1. Scientists recently dropped a package on parachutes that disengaged to drop it again so that it could be supported on hovering rocket boosters that lowered a big robot on wires to the surface of the planet mars. This seems trivial by comparison.

  2. Why are these technicians wearing hair nets on their heads if they’re just going to let their huge beards hang out?

    1. Their beards are covered…  I looked at the high resolution picture after I read your comment.  See screenshot below.

      From what I understand, they were also forced to get brazilians as well.

  3. I thought the James Webb telescope was billions of dollars over budget and years late in development, In fact I thought it had been cancelled.

  4. Headline could be “Awesome Tech Being Assembled in a Clean Room” and we would have flocked to see it.

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