Unbelievable. The James Webb Space Telescope ready for launch in March 2021

The James Webb Space Telescope, whose launch has been postponed so many times that most of us have stopped believing that it will ever be in outer space, has finally passed all critical tests of software and electrical systems. This means that it is ready to start in 2021.

This is certainly the largest and technically most complex space telescope that NASA has ever built. The telescope is the result of international cooperation on an unprecedented scale. Its creation is responsible for specialists from NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

During the last series of tests, working 24 hours a day for 15 days, engineers launched over a thousand scripts and instructions on the telescope, thus implementing a process consisting of 1370 subsequent steps.

Difficult stories

Work on the telescope began - although hard to believe - in 1996. It was originally expected to be in orbit in 2007. Now, after numerous changes to the original design, countless delays and repeated budget overruns, NASA hopes to send the telescope into space in March 2021, although this month's launch readiness review will be carried out this month.

What does the James Webb Space Telescope look like?

The seven-meter diameter telescope will observe a distant universe from orbit around the sun (not Earthly), from the so-called Lagrange point L2, which moves around the Sun with the Earth.

Folded like an origami sunshade the size of a tennis court will protect the telescope from overheating.

The phenomenal mirror consisting of 18 hexagonal segments, each of which will be more than a meter in diameter, will spread after the start, creating a 25.4 m2 mirror. Such a powerful mirror will allow the telescope to observe stars at much lower frequencies than the Hubble Space Telescope. Each segment of the mirror is made of light and durable beryllium.

Point L2 is located 1.5 million km from Earth.

What will JWST observe?

As planned, the telescope will collect observational data using four scientific instruments, such as cameras and spectrometers, allowing scientists to learn much more about the earliest galaxies that were created first after the Big Bang. In addition, the telescope will be able to observe the stars at every stage of the evolution cycle.

The telescope's ability to perform temperature measurements and to study the chemical composition of atmospheres and surfaces of planets in other planetary systems is particularly promising. Thanks to them, we will be able to find out how many planets conditions are favorable for life, at least as on Earth.

A completely different issue is that for many years a huge queue of scientists has been setting up to use the telescope, who began their work on other instruments, discovering many interesting, close and distant, small and huge space objects, and then came to the conclusion that A lot of additional information about these objects can be obtained using JWST.

We can safely say that as soon as the telescope is in orbit, it will have an observation calendar filled to the brim for several decades. I already feel sorry for those scientists who will be at the very end of this queue.

Unbelievable. The James Webb Space Telescope ready for launch in March 2021


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