NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Launched
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on Dec. 25. The space telescope was launched aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket.
JWST began recording data five minutes after launch and separated from the rocket at an altitude of approximately 75 miles. The satellite unfolded its solar array around 30 minutes after launch.
Engineers and operators subsequently fired the first mid-course correction burn to maneuver Webb to an optimal trajectory towards the L2 Lagrange point, which is around 1 million miles from Earth. There will be three mid-course correction burns in total, NASA said.
The observatory will undergo six months of commissioning in space. JWST will start delivering its first images following the commissioning.
The spacecraft is equipped with four science instruments with sensitive infrared detectors that will study IR light from celestial objects. NASA said the images that JWST will capture will be clearer than what other spacecraft have caught. The pictures will complement previous data and will further discoveries from the likes of the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.
JWST was designed in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. It will explore every phase of cosmic history from within the solar system and to the most distant observable galaxies. The discoveries made by JWST are expected to help broaden the understanding of the universe.
Tags: Ariane 5 Arianespace Canadian Space Agency European Space Agency James Webb Space Telescope NASA rocket space