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NASA telescope deploys solar array

From pv magazine USA

NASA launched the Webb Space Telescope on Christmas Day. Thirty minutes later, it deployed and activated Webb’s fold-out solar array.

Image: NASA

The world’s most powerful telescope, which is set to study phenomena like the formation of planets, uses less power than one might think. In fact, only 1 kilowatt, equivalent to the power use of microwaving your lunch, is needed to power the device.

Webb will stay energy-efficient more than 1 million miles from Earth, said NASA.

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The 20-foot solar array is attached to the main observatory of the craft. It will act as the “powerhouse” for the telescope, supplying energy to all of its scientific instruments, communications, and propulsion systems. The telescope only needs 1 kW to perform, but the array generates twice that much to factor in the degradation caused by the harsh conditions of space.

The array consists of five panels that are connected by hinges for folding into the launch vehicle, the Ariane 5 rocket. The telescope’s onboard battery was designed to only last a few hours, so the unfolding and activation of the array was considered one of the most critical early steps of the telescope’s voyage.

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Source: pv magazine