The structure recently achieved a successful deployment during the final post-environmental testing of the fully assembled telescope. The testing took place at Northrop Grumman’s Space Park in Redondo Beach, Calif. The tower will be deployed twice more before the launch. Once extended, each of the layers of the sunshield will be folded and secured with membranes protecting the device from the powerful rocket launch.

“Last month, the accelerometer responses during acoustic and sine-vibration testing and initial visual inspections were a rough guide to show Webb was operating properly. The proof comes in the post-environment Comprehensive Systems Test and the various deployments, including extending the Deployable Tower Assembly,” said Paul Geithner, Webb Deputy Project Manager – Technical at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.