The mission of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is to find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe and to see stars forming planetary systems. The telescope is scheduled for launch in 2021.

The Deployable Tower Assembly of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is a critical piece in the operation and support of the structure, playing a role in how the observatory deploys in space as well as serving to maintain safe operating temperatures by separating its mirrors from the Sun-facing side.

The Deployable Tower Assembly is made of graphite-epoxy composite material to provide the strength needed to deal with the extreme environmental conditions, including the temperature changes, that occur in space. The deployable structure resembles a thick black pipe and features two nested telescoping tubes. After the telescope is launched, the tower will deploy to separate the telescope mirrors and instruments from the spacecraft bus, keeping the telescope safe from vibrations and heat.