Webb Telescope All Fueled Up, Ready to Meet Its Ariane Rocket

This is the Ariane 5 rocket that will carry the Webb into space 9 photos
Photo: ESA
2007. That’s when the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was initially scheduled for deployment in a very distant orbit, almost one million miles away from Earth, to look back in time to the beginning of the Universe. Yet here we are in 2021, and the thing is still on our planet.
But that won’t be so for long now, as the piece of hardware whose development started a quarter of a century ago is planned for departure on December 22, pushed away from Earth’s pull by an European Ariane 5 rocket.

The telescope, all fueled up and ready to go, will launch from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) spaceport in French Guiana, where the rocket has been coming together over the past few weeks. Now, the two pieces are ready to meet each other and make history later this month.

The Webb is described as “the largest, most powerful telescope ever launched into space," as it boasts a 6.5-meter (21.3-ft) diameter mirror, more than twice the size that of the Hubble.

This massive eye will allow it to look at the stars in the infrared part of the spectrum, and because it will be spinning farther out (or, should we say, much, much farther, as the Hubble floats at only 570 km/354 miles), it should allow Webb to see so far back in time as to see the light coming from the stars formed immediately after the Big Bang. It will also look for signs of alien life, but also study quasars, some of the brightest objects in the Universe.

As a side note, such capabilities do not come cheap. The Webb cost NASA a total of around $10 billion over 25 years, most of that used for development. That amount does not include ESA’s almost $800 million worth of rocket, and Canada’s over $200 million worth of sensors and instruments.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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