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A Mechanical Harmony to NASA's Webb Telescope Sunshield | by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
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A Mechanical Harmony to NASA's Webb Telescope Sunshield

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has a giant custom-built, kite-shaped sunshield driven by mechanics that will fold and unfold with a harmonious synchronicity 1 million miles from Earth.


Like a car, many mechanical pieces in the Webb telescope's sunshield will work together to open it from its stored folded position in the rocket that will carry it into space.


According to car manufacturers, a single car can have about 30,000 parts, counting every part down to the smallest screws. Like getting all of the parts in a car to operate together, the mechanical parts of the sunshield have to work in the same way.


The sunshield support structure contains well over 7,000 flight parts, including springs, bearings, pulleys, magnets, etc. In addition, the sunshield has hundreds of custom fabricated pieces. Most mechanical pieces were developed exclusively for the sunshield, with a few from existing designs.


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Taken on June 18, 2015