Last wing of James Webb space telescope unfolded

Launched at Christmas, the James Webb Space Telescope has completed its two-week deployment phase with the unfolding of a final mirror plate and will soon be ready to explore the universe.

"The final wing is now deployed," NASA announced on Twitter. The team is now working on "anchoring the wing in place", a process that will take several hours.

"Before we celebrate, we still have some work to do," NASA further explained. Only when the final anchoring is successful will the telescope be ready for use, it said. An Ariane 5 rocket had brought the successor of the legendary Hubble telescope into space from the spaceport in Kourou in French Guyana on Christmas Day. The James Webb telescope is intended to explore the early days of the universe 13 billion years ago and thus only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

Because the telescope was too big for the Ariane 5 rocket, it had to be folded up before launch. Unfolding it in space was then a complex and risky process that had caused NASA officials many worries in advance. The telescope, named after a former director of the US space agency, was jointly developed by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The Austrian company RUAG Space is also involved in the project.