NASA on June 3 announced that its James Webb Space Telescope remains on schedule for a launch readiness date no earlier than October 31, 2021. The instrument, which is the largest science observatory ever placed into space, will launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket from a spaceport in French Guiana. According to a press release, as the launch processing will take two months, Webb will ship to the launch site in August with little to no schedule margin.
The US space agency said, “The observatory has completed all the post-environmental testing deployments, and it is in its final integration and folding stages. Final stow, closeout, and pack and ship are imminent”.
It added, “We will launch approximately four months after the first launch of the Ariane 5 this year, which is scheduled for late July. Webb has no launch date constraints; hence, it can launch almost any day of the year”.
The James Webb Space Telescope is an international programme led by NASA with its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. Scientists from 44 countries will be able to make use of the telescope, with proposals including using the infrared capabilities to penetrate the supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies, including our own. Scientists believe that the discovery capability of Webb is limited only by our own imaginations and the telescope will take space agencies across the globe to places where they haven’t even dreamed of going before.
NASA’s ‘iconic’ Webb Telescope
NASA has said that Webb will study the phase in the history of our universe, including the first luminous glows after the creation of the cosmos, the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, and the evolution of our own solar system. Last month, The world’s largest and most powerful space science telescope opened its iconic primary mirror for the last time it is on Earth and commanded it to fully expand and lock itself into place, just like it would in space. It was the final test to ensure that the James Webb Space Telescope will survive its 1.6 million kilometre journey and is ready to discover the origins of the Universe.
Webb’s primary mirror is made of 18 hexagonal segments coated with an ultra-thin layer of gold to improve its reflection of infrared light. The mirror will fly to space folded like a piece of origami artwork, which allows it to fit inside a five-meter rocket fairing, and will then use 132 individual actuators and motors to bend each mirror into a specific position. Together, the mirrors will function as one massive reflector in a bid to enable the telescope to peer deeper into the cosmos than ever before.
This Article firstly Publish on www.republicworld.com