BigPic: The James Webb Space Telescope, Ready To Be Frozen

Prepping for space with a super-cold vacuum

James Webb Space Telescope Wings
NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton

It's cold up there in space, so before the James Webb Space Telescope gets sent up there, NASA scientists are putting it through its paces, locking parts of it in a vacuum and chilling them to -414 F. We've seen what the vacuum looks like, and here we see the telescope's wings coming in for testing. The wings have 900 parts, mostly made from lightweight graphite composite materials, and can unfold from 16.4 feet to 21 feet. The tests will ensure all of those parts work in a controlled setting before the telescope is rocketed away for real.