NASA Webb Space Telescope Antenna Released and Tested

James Webb Space telescope. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

Shortly after 10 am EST on December 26, the Webb team began the process of releasing the gimbaled antenna assembly, or GAA, which includes Webb’s high-data-rate dish antenna. This antenna will be used to send at least 28.6 Gbytes of science data down from the observatory, twice a day. The team has now released and tested the motion of the antenna assembly — the entire process took about one hour.

Separately, overnight, the temperature sensors and strain gauges on the telescope were activated for the first time. Temperature and strain data are now available to engineers monitoring Webb’s thermal and structural systems.