Episode 11: Great Plane

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Duration: 3 minutes, 57 seconds

Webb's 18 separate mirror segments will be held in place by a graphite structure called a backplane. This one-of-a-kind piece needs to be thermally stable to -400 degrees Fahrenheit (-204 degrees Celsius), and hold Webb's mirror segments steady to within one ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. Engineers at ATK in Magna, Utah, take us through the process of designing and creating the backplane.

About the Backplane

James Webb Space Telescope's Actual 'Spine' Now Being Built (2009)

Behind the Scenes, Webb Mission


NASA and Mary Estacion (STScI)

Publication: May 6, 2011

Video Transcript