Beyond Hubble: The Telescope of Tomorrow (2021) Movie Script

and then triumph...
as NASA launches
the James Webb Space Telescope.
This may be the telescope that
actually observes the very
earliest days of our universe
that we've never seen before.
The James Webb
will explore even further back
in time than
the Hubble Space Telescope
to witness the birth of
the first stars and galaxies,
and solve the mystery of how
the first black holes formed.
The James Webb Space Telescope
could even discover a second Earth.
For the first time,
we'll be able to point at
a star in the sky and say,
"That planet may even have life."
It has taken over 20 years,
almost 10 billion dollars,
and thousands of scientists
and engineers from 14 countries
to create the most advanced
telescope ever built.
There's been
numerous sleepless nights.
We have one shot to make
this right. It's gotta work.
It's gotta work.
This is the story of a telescope
that will change the way
we view our universe forever.
The James Webb Space
Telescope is in South America,
at the Kourou Space Center
in French Guiana.
It will journey into space
on board this,
an Ariane 5 rocket.
December 25th...
The rocket contains
415 tons of fuel,
and almost 10 billion dollars
of space telescope
is mounted on top.
The global impact
that this mission is gonna have,
it's hard to put dollars on it.
So cargo's pretty precious.
In mission control,
the final countdown has started.
If this team fails to
identify any problems now,
in just a few moments,
NASA's most precious
space craft would face disaster.
The James Webb Telescope
is the future of astronomy.
NASA built it to fulfill a dream
that began over 25 years ago.
Over Christmas in 1995,
the Hubble Space Telescope
took this extraordinary photo.
It's known as
the Hubble Deep Field.
The whole idea was stare at
one part of the sky for a long time
and let that light come
in over and over these days.
And so in this tiny little
speck on the sky,
barely visible,
instead of nothing
they found thousands, not thousands
of stars but thousands of galaxies.
Each galaxy with hundreds
of billions of stars.
This was an image that just
blew away all of us astronomers.
This resulted in the deepest image
ever up to that time of our universe.
This was astounding.
There are about
3,000 galaxies in the image.
Most of them had never
been seen before.
Some are near but some
are incredibly far away.
Even though light is going
extremely fast,
186,000 miles per second,
it takes time for light
to actually travel to us.
The farther we look
out into space,
the deeper we look back in time.
We see the Moon as it was
one second ago,
the Sun as it was
eight minutes ago.
Light from our nearest star,
Proxima Centauri,
takes four years to reach us.
We see the nearest large
galaxy like our own,
Andromeda, as it was two
and half million years ago.
As our telescopes gaze deeper,
we look further back
to a time around 13 billion years
ago when galaxies were infants.
This is just a few hundred million
years after the Big Bang itself.
But that's where our
observations with Hubble stop.
What lies beyond
remains a mystery.
It's frustrating.
These objects are just out
of the range of
the Hubble Space Telescope.
So even though we may be only going back,
say, you know, half a billion years more,
that's when that first
generation of stars turned on.
If astronomers
could beyond Hubble and lift
the veil on this earliest time
of the universe,
they could uncover important
new clues about how
the universe and everything
in it was born.
At the Space Telescope Science
Institute in Baltimore,
scientists were already working
up ideas for Hubble's successor.
It was called the Next
Generation Space Telescope.
Together with NASA, they began
work turning their initial ideas
into the telescope that would
eventually become the James Webb.
We needed to make a telescope that
was as sensitive as it could possibly be.
So, number one,
it has to be big.
Astronomers refer to a telescope
as big if it has a big main mirror.
The bigger the mirror, the fainter
the object the telescope can see.
The larger the primary mirror,
the more photons,
the more light that you collect.
And when you're trying to look
at things that are really dim,
you need a really big telescope
to collect more photons.
NASA's largest
mirror currently in space
is on the
Hubble Space Telescope,
a solid piece of glass over
7 feet in diameter.
The final design for
the James Webb's mirror
is over six times
the area of Hubble's
and nearly three times wider,
over 21 feet across.
But the cargo hold on
the biggest rocket available,
Ariane 5,
is just 15 feet wide.
So how can NASA get this
monster mirror into space?
The solution was
inspired by what was then
the largest telescope on earth.
The Keck was spectacularly
successful. The mirror's beautiful.
We started with
the Keck Telescopes in mind.
Uh, they had been developed with segments
about the size we were thinking of.
The Keck Telescope
on Mauna Kea, Hawaii,
has a mirror
that's 32 feet across.
Instead of a single piece of glass,
it's made of 36 hexagonal glass pieces.
The concept isn't so hard
to come up with.
The details of how
you really do it, that's hard.
Because after you've gotten
separate pieces,
well what if they don't... The
pieces don't match at the edges?
The technology
the Keck designers developed
to make lots of small mirrors behave like
one giant mirror is called active optics.
It also offers a solution
for the engineers
trying to fit the James Webb's
mirror into the Ariane 5.
What we had to do was learn how to make
motors that would adjust all these mirrors
into the right place, the right
tilt and even the right curvature.
There are actuators on the back and
there are these very precise sensors
that will measure fractions
of a wavelength of light
so that we can keep
the mirrors totally aligned.
Instead of making a solid
glass mirror for the James Webb Telescope,
the engineers decide to use
18 hexagonal segments
that can be
adjusted individually.
Together they form
the primary mirror.
Motorized wings fold
the mirror's sides
so it fits
into the Ariane rocket.
We knew that a
telescope made out of segments
in the mirror would be required
so its basic points were really
known right at the very beginning.
Exactly what was going to be
inside, that had to be worked out.
2004, work begins
on the primary mirror.
Engineers manufacture each of the 18 mirror
segments from blanks two inches thick.
They make the mirrors
from a light weight,
but strong metal
called beryllium
that maintains its shape
even in the cold of deep space.
Machines cut out
a honeycomb structure
to support the mirror's
reflecting surface.
The rocket can
only push so much mass off of Earth.
Each mirror started as a,
you know, a blank
and we machine away
95% of the metal.
Each mirror
measures over four feet across,
but weighs just 46 pounds.
With mirror construction underway, the
engineers turn to a far greater challenges.
The telescope must capture light from
distant galaxies that is no longer visible.
It will need to be
sensitive enough to detect
the faint heat of a bumblebee
as far away as the Moon.
For 28 years,
the Hubble Space Telescope has
produced many dazzling images,
but none have revealed more about
our universe than one produced in 1995.
The Hubble Deep Field.
We saw objects that were ten,
eleven billion light years away.
We were looking across time
to see what galaxies looked like
only a few billions of years
after the start of the universe.
Since then, by pushing Hubble
and other telescopes
to their absolute limit,
astronomers have seen
even further back into the past.
We've been able to see across
almost 13 billion years of cosmic time.
Which is pretty good. The
universe is only 13.7 billion years old.
The oldest object
we've seen so far is this.
Galaxy GN-z11.
We were looking
at one of these fields
and we realized that we had
some very unusual galaxies.
This is just a tiny little dot of
light at the limit of our instruments,
and we had four of those.
And we actually found that
one of these
was four hundred million years
after the Big Bang.
And so that means we're looking
back in time 13.4 billion years.
13,000, 400 million years
of time to see this object.
But this
tantalizing glimpse is the best
that Hubble can do.
In fact, we can't see any visible
light from this far back in time.
It turns out that
light itself changes
because the universe it's
traveling through is also changing.
As light is traveling through
the space between the galaxies,
that space is expanding.
And it turns out that the
wavelength of light gets stretched out
by the exact same amount
space expanded
while the light
was traveling through it.
So starlight that
could have begun as visible light
traveling from billions of years
across the expansion of the universe,
it's now dropped down
into infrared.
To see the first
stars and galaxies,
we need a powerful new telescope
that can detect
that infrared light.
And detecting infrared light
isn't that hard
on Earth at least.
When we look at objects
in the infrared,
we're looking at what we call
thermal radiation.
I am producing my own
light simply because I am warm.
So this is where you can
actually see things in the dark.
And now an entirely different
universe lights up
because by warm, I mean basically
anything with any temperature.
Things that are
incredibly cold to humans,
things that are hundreds
of degrees below zero.
You can actually see the glow.
But any heat
from the James Webb telescope
will also give off
infrared light.
And this could drown out the tiny
signals coming from distant galaxies.
We needed to make a telescope that
was as sensitive as it could possibly be.
It has to have
the best camera chips.
So we pushed and pushed to get
better nad better ones.
And better means
not only more pixels,
like you would have in your
pocket camera,
but also, essentially perfect.
So it is so good that overall if you
were a square centimeter insect,
one bumblebee hovering at the
distance of the Moon away from the Earth,
which is about, what, 400,000km,
then we would be able to
see you in a time exposure.
To allow these extraordinarily
sensitive camera chips
to do their job,
the James Webb Telescope will have
to be cooled to -370 degrees Fahrenheit.
But that means a big threat to
the mission is the power of the Sun.
It's energy could heat
the spacecraft up
and blind the sensitive
infrared detectors.
The breakthrough was realizing that space
itself could be used to cool the telescope.
If you keep it from looking
at hot things in space,
and you look only
at the empty space.
Structures radiate their heat into this
depth of outer space and they cool down.
The temperature of
space in our part of the solar system
is -447 degrees Fahrenheit.
Only 12 degrees
above absolute zero,
the lowest possible temperature.
But the side of the
telescope exposed to the Sun
will heat up
to 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
It will be bombarded
with infrared radiation,
drowning out the faint infrared
light from the distance stars
the telescope
is trying to detect.
But if the engineers design
a large reflector,
and angle the telescope so
the shield always blocks the Sun,
temperatures on the dark side
should lower dramatically,
and keep the heat sensitive
equipment super cooled.
Here in Huntsville, Alabama,
engineers are building the James
Webb Telescope's critical sunshield.
The design of the
sunshield actually is very complex.
It's not just
an insulating blanket.
There's a specific shape to
the sunshield, a parabolic shape.
And the heat actually bounces between the
layers and out the sides of the sunshield.
The curvature of each layer is very
slightly different that allows the heat
to radiate out from between
the layers into space.
The sunshield is exposed
to the harsh environment of space
with its extremes of temperature
and the constant threat
of meteorites.
So the material NASA chose is a
space age polymer film called Kapton.
It's thin, it's strong,
and it's coated to provide the heat
protection that the telescope needs.
This is layer one, which is the Sun facing
layer, it's 2000ths of an inch thick.
It's coated with silicon
on the Sun facing side
because that emits
the heat better.
It's coated with aluminum
on the other side.
September, 2013,
construction of the first
sunshield layer begins.
It takes three years
to complete all five layers.
But the sunshield will
only work if the telescope
is in the right region of space.
Unlike Hubble,
which orbits the Earth,
the new telescope will travel
1 million miles away.
To a stable position for satellites
known as the second Lagrange point, L2.
Here it will circle the Sun at
the same speed as the Earth
in a secondary halo orbit.
The heat of the Sun, Earth, and
Moon always hits it from the same side,
and can be blocked
with a giant sunshield.
But this remote orbit
is too far from Earth
to send a repair mission
if anything goes wrong.
Our orbit that we're in precludes
humans from going and fixing it.
Not many observatories have
a design really for servicing.
That is not the way
Webb was designed.
This makes
the James Webb Space Telescope
one of NASA's
riskiest projects ever.
They only have one shot.
It's a $10 billion roll
of the dice.
In Richmond, California,
technicians grind
and polish the 18 hexagons,
that make up the James Webb
Space Telescope's primary mirror.
These machines were custom designed and
built to process the James Webb mirrors.
You want the curve of the entire
surface to be as near perfect as possible.
And one of the challenges is having the
optical surface be really, really good quality
out to the very edge.
The whole mission
depends entirely
on how accurate
these mirrors are.
if we don't make our telescope
really well,
we'll get blurry images.
So if we want a really crisp, crisp
images and we want to do really, you know,
science with objects
that are very close together.
You need to make
a very smooth mirror
that is the exact shape
that you want.
I use to tell people
it's the mirror's stupid.
You know, if we can make the
mirrors, we can do this mission.
We have to have a mirror who's
deviations are 1/5000ths of a human hair.
So that's how tiny they are.
They're so microscopic you
would not even be able to see them.
If the mirror was
the size of the United States,
we'd be talking about bumps
that were, you know,
a few inches maybe a foot,
something like that.
Awfully smooth.
The next process,
adding a layer of pure gold.
Technicians place each mirror
in a vacuum chamber.
And then, they inject a tiny
amount of vaporized gold,
which sticks to the surface
of the beryllium.
Well, it turns out, gold actually
reflects infrared light extremely well.
And it's a very,
very thin layer.
So, um, it's not like
we're using, you know,
huge quantities
of gold to do this.
It's less than
two ounces of gold,
just 100 nanometers thick
across all 18 mirrors.
Enough to make about
a dozen wedding rings.
The mirrors on Webb
have some of the highest reflectivity
of any infrared mirror's
that we've ever made.
Uh, which is great,
because when you're
trying to see these
very dim objects,
you don't want to lose
any photons,
you want every one of them to
be reflected into the instruments.
At 21 feet across,
James Webb's mirror is the
largest to be launched into space.
But it needs to be to allow us
to explore further back in
time than any other telescope.
The beginning of
the universe was incredibly dynamic,
and things were changing
very, very fast.
There must have been
this incredibly intense era
of star formation, maybe giant
stars, everything blowing up,
that initial creation of the
elements that lead to things like life.
That's what we're looking for.
A few hundred
million years after the Big Bang,
clouds of hydrogen and helium
gas collapsed under their own gravity
to create the first stars.
But scientists think they
would have looked very different
from the stars we see today.
This first generation would be
just hydrogen, little bit of helium.
A star would behave
entirely differently.
They may have been huge.
and helium stars did not emit light
as efficiently as later stars.
So these first stars
were super massive.
They lived short times
and then explode violently.
When they blow up
and they're dying,
they make tons of the stuff
we're made of.
Carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, iron,
all those heavy elements.
Some astronomers suspect
that when these first stars exploded,
they also sometimes collapsed
into massive black holes.
Clusters of these
monster black holes merged
to form even larger
super massive black holes,
around 40 billion times
the mass of our sun.
At least, that's the theory.
But until the James Webb, we've never
had a telescope able to see far enough
to tell us what happened
so long ago.
So scientists still have
many questions.
Were there stars that were a
thousand times the mass of the sun?
Did they come together, and then almost
immediately blow up into huge black holes?
We see gigantic black holes,
but we see them only a few hundred
million years after the Big Bang.
That's incredible. What formed
these giant black holes so fast?
Scientists would also like
to use the James Webb Telescope
to investigate
how these tumultuous events
produce the galaxies
we see today.
We really don't know what
the first generation of galaxies were like.
So we don't know how it all
gets kickstarted.
We don't know what was going
on in their centers to make, uh...
With the super massive
black holes.
We know today every galaxy has
a really big black hole in its center.
We don't know when
all that got started.
And we don't know whether the seeds
of those black holes were big or small.
We started off with these two
competing ideas for how galaxies formed.
One idea is that a big cloud of gas
collapses down to make a galaxy.
The second idea is that
several smaller clouds of gas
collide to build up
a larger galaxy.
It seems like the answer
is a combination of both.
Uh, but we don't know because we've
never observed the first galaxies forming.
With the Webb Space Telescope,
we can finally make those observations.
Think about how
profound that is.
With the James Webb
Space Telescope
we're seeing that last bit to
see the first stars come to light.
And that will only
happen if the enormous,
complex, and multi-layered sunshield
is deployed perfectly in deep space.
It's one of the biggest engineering
challenges NASA has ever faced.
July 2014.
In Los Angeles, California,
engineers at Northrop Grumman
are assembling a sunshield for
the James Webb Space Telescope.
They have many challenges
to overcome.
How do we take
such a large, you know, thin structure
and be able to fold it up,
get it to fit into a rocket,
and then have really high confidence
that we can deploy that in space?
Engineers decide that
the best way to deploy the sunshield
is with a complex system of
cables, motors, and pulleys.
You know, you're gonna need to
tension it with some form of cables,
because it has to start off
soft and foldable,
and then pull to a taut, you
know, tension kind of thing.
They use
a full-scale test sunshield
to figure out the best way
to pull it tight.
It must work perfectly in space
where repairs are impossible.
Once it's launched,
the sunshield should take
about three days to fully deploy.
It's gonna be very stressful when we
do it on orbit because it's away from us,
because we can't
touch it, right?
Because we can only
command the motors.
But in theory, it should
happen easier.
You know, than when we were trying
to do it and offload gravity on the ground.
November 2015.
All 18 mirror segments
have arrived
at NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Now, workers can begin
attaching them
to the backplane
that will hold them together.
In February 2016,
the stunning 21-foot wide
primary mirror is finally complete.
Engineers are already installing
the scientific instruments.
Webb is chock-full of four
very capable science instruments.
I would say it's like
a Swiss Army knife,
but there aren't Swiss Army knives
with as many different features.
We have 18 observing modes
on Webb.
We can do spectroscopy,
we can do imaging,
we can do coronagraphy,
which is blinking at the star
and looking at the faint
planet that's nearby.
Um, we have these quarter
of a million microshutters,
which can open and close individually,
so we can simultaneously take spectra,
look at the rainbows
of 30 or 40 objects at a time.
Webb can also use more than
one science instrument at a time,
so that we are gathering data
from multiple modes at once
and in a really efficient way.
May 2016, all the infrared
cameras and instruments are in place.
Only now can the mirrors and the
scientific instruments be tested together.
It's a critical moment.
Forty years earlier, engineers making
the mirror on the Hubble Space Telescope
made a drastic mistake.
The conclusion we've come to is that
there's a significant spherical aberration
in the optical telescope
system optics.
They had carefully crafted
the mirror into the wrong shape.
The images were blurry.
I worked Hubble
for almost 20 years,
so I was actually
in the control center
when they announced
the spherical aberration
so I know how it feels
to have this kind of a problem.
Hubble's engineers
checked the mirror before launch
with a faulty testing process.
They actually had two
independent pieces of test equipment
that tested the mirror.
They just decided to believe the one
that they thought was more precise.
And it turned out the test
device they thought was precise
was actually precisely wrong.
May 2017, NASA's
Johnson Spaceflight Center.
Engineers test the James Webb Space
Telescope's complete optical system
in a vacuum chamber that simulates
the freezing conditions of space.
It's something that was
never done on Hubble.
So we took
that optic, fully deployed it,
put it in a chamber,
hung it from the ceiling,
so it was called cup-up, right?
So imagine, you know,
the mirror looking up,
you know, like that dish
at the bottom.
All of that got tested, 100
straight days, 24/7 testing,
and in the end it actually
proved that the optic worked.
We've tested multiple times
as a full assembly,
and we've tested multiple
times at the full observatory level.
We've tested it
every way we know how.
Start on up again.
With the Hubble Space Telescope,
NASA had a second chance.
Once repaired,
it went on to produce
the most stunning views
of our universe
the world had ever seen.
If the James Webb
Space Telescope
is going to be
a worthy successor,
it's critical that engineers make
sure it unfolds correctly in space.
In Los Angeles, workers start to
join the mirror half of the telescope
to the section holding
the sunshield.
When we took those two halves
and we lowered that on in there,
I stood in the window
every moment of that
watching it lower down
and lower down
and then released the weight.
And when you finally realized the
weight is no longer on the crane...
Yeah, it's an emotional
moment, right?
For some folks, you know, this has been
a significant portion of their careers.
After 15 years of construction,
the James Webb Space Telescope
is finally complete.
The instruments it carries on board will
revolutionize a new field of astronomy.
To me, one of the most
profound impacts of the Webb Telescope
is the observations
of exoplanets.
These are planets
outside our own solar system,
planets that are going
around other stars in the sky.
excite our imagination,
because life forms, like
ourselves, live on planets.
And one of the biggest
questions we have is,
"Are we alone in the universe?"
Well, pondering the question
is one thing,
making direct observations and
getting a real answer is another.
And Webb is going to allow us
to probe the atmospheres
of any planets we find.
Back in the 1980s,
the only planets
anyone knew about
were the ones circling our sun.
We figured that the sun
couldn't be the only star with planets.
But we didn't have
any proof of it.
Because the planets are
very small and very hard to see.
But then things change
when we realized that
we could detect exoplanets.
By just looking for
the dimming of a star
when the planet passed
in front of it.
And we designed satellites,
specifically just to look for
that dimming of the light.
And if the same dimming pattern
came back again, and again, and again,
we realized
we'd caught a little planet.
And all of a sudden there were
hundreds of exoplanets then thousands.
And as I speak
there are close to
5,000 known exoplanets.
So just in 20 years of my life
a few, a smattering,
and now a sky full of planets.
Despite discovering
thousands of exoplanets
scientists know very little
about them.
To this date all we know is
a rough idea of
the size and the mass
and how close it is to the star.
We don't know whether
there are clouds or oceans.
Whether there's an environment
that would be friendly to life.
All we can give you are the most
rudimentary specs of that planet.
If there is life
on a planet out there
the James Webb Space Telescope
could detect it.
When the planet
passes in front of the star
the light from that star will pass
through that planet's atmosphere.
And then Webb
can capture that light
and look at the spectrum
of that planetary atmosphere
and look for
what we call biomarkers,
signatures of gasses
what may indicate that
there is life on that world.
Webb will have the power to
collect enough light
and then spread it out
and de-code what chemicals
must have made that light.
There is no single
molecule that says, "Hey,
this is evidence
that there is life here."
But in combination
there are certain molecules
which are strong indicators
of life.
We're entering an age
where we can say,
"This planet has water.
This planet has methane.
This planet has a temperature
very similar to ours."
It could even be something
as profound as we can detect
the presence of
plant life, chlorophyll.
What if we detect a planet
that has pollution.
What if we detect some sign
of industrial activity, technology.
That's gonna get a lot deeper.
We might be
on the cusp of saying
that there other beings up there
that might be looking back at us.
In the clean room
in Los Angeles,
Engineers must ensure
the finished telescope
will unfold
once it reaches space.
The most critical test,
is to deploy the sun shield.
You release
a bunch of mechanisms,
and then you pull out one side,
and then you pull out
the other side
but we're on the ground,
that mid boom that pulls out
half of the sun shield,
it wants to droop
and sag, right?
So we have to off load it,
counter balancing gravity,
right, each step of the way.
The membranes unfold,
now they must be pulled apart
to create the five layer sun shield.
You've got
three cables at each corner
so you have 90 cables that are
basically tensioning this membrane system
You want it tensioned so you
get a controlled shape,
so the thermal performance,
you know works as predicted.
Each layer will tension one at
a time, starting with layer one,
layer five being
the last one to tension.
So, it's a sequential
tensioning of the... all five layers.
The sun shield
is finally complete.
Over the next two years,
nearly every part of the telescope
is deployed and redeployed
until NASA is convinced that
it will work in space.
So, when we go to the last
deployment deployed, uh, just right.
Uh, which is what
we wanted to see.
Uh, so, it's all the testing, we saw
multiple deployments, we've made corrections,
and I think,
now it's ready to go.
Now, they must
fold it up for the final time.
It's like packing a ten
billion dollar parachute.
In the clean room,
in Los Angeles,
the crew pack the telescope,
ready for launch.
Making sure not to forget to
remove the lens cap.
This is the one operation
that they can't get wrong.
When you stow Webb
for the last time on Earth,
you're setting really the
probability of success in orbit.
It's... It's as simple as that.
The team then encases the
telescope in its purpose built container,
to keep it clean on the
journey to the launch site
in French Guiana.
On September 26th, 2021,
the telescope
departs Los Angeles,
loaded onto a special ship,
designed to carry rocket parts.
Cruising at 15 Knots,
it spends 16 days at sea,
and travels 5,800 miles
before arriving at
it's launch site in Kourou,
on the northeast coast
of South America.
December 25th, 2021.
The James Webb Space
Telescope is now ready for launch.
Its Ariane 5 rocket
is fully fueled.
Mission control
give a go for launch.
Everyone is on edge.
Six, cinq, quatre, trois,
And lift-off.
Decollage, lift-off
from a tropical rainforest
to the edge of time itself.
James Webb begins a voyage
back to the birth
of the universe.
The rocket,
now in the upper atmosphere,
jettisons its fairing.
Then the first stage separates.
We are expecting Webb separation
at the 27-minute, 7-second mark
here into the flight.
At that point, uh,
it will be on its own.
The next few hours will
determine mission success
or failure.
The actuations start as early
as 30 minutes after launch,
to deploy our solar array
and then they continue on.
Three days into the mission,
Webb deploys the pallets
holding the sun shield.
Next it raises the tower
to separate the sun shield from
the telescope and instruments.
Now comes the most
challenging operation,
unfolding the sunshield itself.
The protective covers roll back.
Inside the telescopic poles electric
motors start pushing out the mid-booms.
Now, eight motors,
pulling on 90 cables
running over 400 pulleys,
start to separate
the sun shield's five layers
it all must work for the
sun shield to be complete.
Everything has to get done,
before we get out to our orbit,
which is a million miles
away from Earth.
Everything out there is so cold,
that if we don't get things
unfolded on the way, it will freeze up.
The final major operation
unfolding the wings
of the giant primary mirror.
Twenty-nine days after launch,
the telescope should be complete.
It is gonna be a
long time until I can relax.
I am not going to be relieved
until I see those first images,
and we see that
they look beautiful.
So, I have several months ahead of me
of being pretty nervous and on the edge.
And after that
I'm expecting joy.
Thirty days after launch,
Webb reaches it's destination.
Lagrange point 2,
one million miles from Earth.
When the telescope
has cooled down,
engineers will carry out the delicate
task of aligning it's primary mirrors.
It's a painstaking process
that takes two months.
Only then,
six months after launch
will the Webb be ready
to take its first pictures,
and transmit them across their
five second journey, back to earth.
The first images are the thing
that really motivates me.
When we see those images,
and you know,
it's something that the entire
planet really can take part in.
I feel like that's gonna be
an amazing moment.
I fully expect that
the data will not only be
scientifically really important,
but will be compelling
and awe inspiring
and help folks feel connected
to the universe.
So, this is a really big
moment for astronomy,
and it's a big moment
for the world.
Here's a view of the universe we've
never seen before, a new universe,
I am going to be
absolutely giddy.