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The space observatory is being built at the facility of aerospace technology company Northrop Grumman in California, and they've just successfully connected both halves of the JWST - the telescope and mirrors constituting one, and the sunshield and spacecraft the other.
"The assembly of the telescope and its scientific instruments, sunshield and the spacecraft into one observatory represents an incredible achievement by the entire Webb team," said Webb project manager Bill Ochs of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
"This milestone symbolises the efforts of thousands of dedicated individuals for over more than 20 years across NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, Northrop Grumman, and the rest of our industrial and academic partners."
"This is an exciting time to now see all Webb's parts finally joined together into a single observatory for the very first time," said Webb program director Gregory Robinson of NASA HQ.
"The engineering team has accomplished a huge step forward and soon we will be able to see incredible new views of our amazing universe."
Prior to undertaking construction of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) the Lockheed Missile and Space Company built a full-scale mockup in 1975 for conducting various feasibility studies. Initially a low-fidelity metal cylinder for testing handling procedures for the proposed spacecraft, the test vehicle evolved continuously as Lockheed proceeded through its feasibility studies and was awarded the contract to build the actual spacecraft. The test vehicle eventually served as a frame on which the cables and wiring harnesses for the actual spacecraft were fabricated. It was also used for simulations in developing maintenance and repair activities in orbit. Dynamic studies on the test vehicle including vibration studies and thermal studies led to its being designated the Hubble Space Telescope Structural Dynamic Test Vehicle (SDTV).