The space agency said Wednesday the team used a robotic system to integrate the first of 18 flight mirrors onto the telescope at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
“This installation not only represents another step towards the magnificent discoveries to come from Webb but also the culmination of many years of effort by an outstanding dedicated team of engineers and scientists,” said Bill Ochs, project manager for the Webb telescope.
Full installation of the 18 mirror segments as part of the final assembly phase is scheduled for completion by early next year.
NASA noted that the mirrors are made of beryllium, which is lightweight and suited for cryogenic temperatures, and have a thin gold coating to reflect infrared light.
Mirror manufacturer Ball Aerospace is the principal subcontractor to Webb prime contractor Northrop, while Harris is the lead integrator for the telescope.