ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The world got its first glimpse at the deepest images of the universe yet when NASA released a tease of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first full-color image Monday.

The full-scale picture of the telescope’s power, however, was realized Tuesday when members of the space agency revealed the complete set of pictures captured by the telescope.

Full Image Set from the James Webb Space Telescope

Rochester-based L3Harris, whose employees integrated Webb’s system of mirrors and tested the telescope’s hardware, celebrated with a showcase at the company’s facility at Rochester Tech Park.

Webb was launched on December 25 last year from French Guiana. Its mission was simple: show the farthest humanity has ever seen in both time and distance. It nailed its job, and did so thanks to a 21-foot long, gold-plated, flower-shaped mirror that is needed to view spectroscopic data.

That mirror system was measured and partly worked on by L3Harris employees who were part of the NASA team responsible for the telescope. Rochester’s touch also extended to ensuring the machine can withhold the harsh environment found in space.

Employees administered approximately 100 days of testing in a cryogenic vacuum chamber at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Years after their work with NASA began, local engineers and technicians who had a hand in creating Webb, can finally look back at their hard work with a smile.

The telescope is considered the successor to the highly successful, but aging Hubble Space Telescope. It has stared as far back as 13.4 billion years. Webb in comparison was built so scientists can get a glimpse of about 13.7 billion years ago, which will allow them to zoom in on solar objects with a sharper focus.

Webb’s development cost $10 billion, but work on the actual project — back when it used to be called the “Next Generation Space Telescope” — started before the 20th century.


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