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Space exploration - An orbital maintenance platform approaching NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST); docking ring; sunshield; halo orbit; Lagrange point 2; auxiliary booster; spacecraft; spaceship; aerospace; astrodynamics - Space Art Illustration

OMP approaches the James Webb Space Telescope

A manned orbital maintenance platform (OMP) approaches NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The James Webb Space Telescope orbits a semi-stable  Lagrange point, in this case Lagrange point 2 (aka the Earth–Sun L2 point) about 930 thousand miles from the Earth.

In this image the JWST is in the foreground on the right. Looking like a pink kite, this is the sunward side of the telescope system that employs a stretched polyimide film (with membranes coated with aluminum on one side and silicon on the other) to shade the delicate, infrared-sensitive optics (not seen) from the Sun. This sunshield is 70 feet long by 47 feet wide, wider than a tennis court and nearly as long.

The OMP is approaching from the upper left while from this distance the Earth* appears slightly smaller than the Moon appears from the Earth's surface.

*In reality from the JWST's position, the Earth will be very close to the Sun's position but not eclipsing it, nevertheless all but impossible to see.


Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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