NASA Engineers Release Webb Space Telescope Sunshield Covers

Sunshield Membrane Cover Releases (4) roll to holding location. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

Webb’s engineers have released and rolled up the sunshield covers that protected the thin layers of Webb’s sunshield during launch. After the team electrically activated release devices to release the covers, they executed commands to roll the covers up into a holding position, exposing Webb’s sunshield membranes to space for the first time.

The deployment, which took about an hour, concluded at approximately 12:27 p.m. EST on December 30, 2021.

In their next stages of planned activities, engineers will deploy the sunshield mid-booms, before proceeding with sunshield tensioning. The steps in this process, controlled by humans at Webb’s Mission Operations Center, may change.