James Webb Telescope Starts Its Journey to French Guyana on Its Way to Space

Technicians and engineers pose in front JWST 7 photos
Photo: Norhtrop Grumman
Ariane 5 upper stage heads for GuianaTechnicians and engineers pose in front of NASAs JWSTWebb Telescope unfolding sequenceJames Webb telescope packed and ready to goJW Telescope explainedFinal countdown for launch
While the engineers burned the midnight oil and scratched their heads to conduct the final tests on the James Webb telescope, the logistics team prepared the valuable cargo they have to transfer to the European Spaceport in French Guiana.
For some of the engineers from Northrop Grumman, the work was done. They'd folded and unfolded the precious telescope and conducted specific tests. In the end, when everything was put place, and the checkboxes were ticked green, they approved the transfer.

At the time of publishing, an army of technicians is wrapping the precious telescope in California. From there, the telescope will be packed like a Christmas present, but with more protection than a fragile China statue. There’s not enough bubble-wrapping and standard boxing for this technological marvel, so special crates had to be created.

The convoy will embark on a ship and cross through the Panama Channel and over the Atlantic Ocean. It is scheduled to arrive in the Pariacabo harbor, in French Guiana, in South America, in mid-September, 55 days before launch.

At the same time, various components of the Ariane 5 rocket that will take the telescope into space were shipped from Europe to the Spaceport. The complete mission, from start to finish, involved 14 countries, with thousands of scientists, engineers, and other professionals.

Gunther Hasinger, ESA director of science, didn’t pop the champagne yet, but he said that “We are glad about the completion of all tests for Webb and thank all the teams for their excellent work. We are really excited that all the items necessary for the launch are now coming together at Europe’s Spaceport.”

The launch is scheduled for October 31st, and the telescope should be installed on the Ariane 5 rocket a week before that. After the launch, the “marriage” between the rocket and the telescope will last for 27 more minutes, then the separation will start with no regrets from either side, and the scientific device will go away embarked on its own spacecraft.
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About the author: Tudor Serban
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Tudor started his automotive career in 1996, writing for a magazine while working on his journalism degree. From Pikes Peaks to the Moroccan desert to the Laguna Seca, he's seen and done it all.
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