James Webb Space Telescope

Article

January 23, 2022

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is an optical and infrared telescope launched on December 25, 2021 and collaborating with the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA has built the telescope in collaboration with ESA and CSA and they are jointly responsible for maintenance. The telescope is named after former NASA chairman James Webb.

Chronology

Development

Development of the JWST started in 1996 and the launch was initially planned for 2007 with a budget of US$500 million. However, the project encountered multiple delays and cost overruns and underwent a major redesign in 2005. In December 2015, the ESA announced that the James Webb Space Telescope would be launched in October 2018 with an Ariane 5 rocket from the European space base in Kourou. , French Guiana. Construction of the JWST was completed in late 2016, after which the extensive testing phase began, but in March 2018, NASA further delayed the launch after the telescope's sunshade ruptured during testing. On September 28, 2017, NASA communicated that the launch will only be foreseen before spring 2019. The integration of the different instruments took longer than initially estimated. On March 27, 2018, the launch was again postponed to May 2020 and again on June 27, 2018 to March 30, 2021. An independent research team that investigated the delays in 2018 accused contractor Northrop Grumman of having painted an unrealistically optimistic picture of projected construction progress that did not include bad luck, human error and extra time to find solutions. JWST has now been completed and the deployment mechanism of the awning has been tested several times. Work on integrating and testing the telescope was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing additional delays. In July 2020, the launch was postponed again, now to October 31, 2021. This was the earliest achievable target date and it was only sustainable if no further setbacks follow.

Cost

The project is now ten percent over budget and is expected to cost about $8.8 billion.

Launch

On September 8, 2021, Arianespace set December 18, 2021 as the target date for the launch of Ariane flight VA256 with the James Webb Space Telescope on board. At the end of November, that schedule was delayed by four days due to a problem with a clamp on the Ariane 5's freight adapter that required additional testing. Finally, JWST was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket on December 25, 2021.

Operationalization

Due to the lower fuel consumption than originally calculated during the initial course corrections immediately after the launch of the JWST to reach the L2 Lagrange point, the telescope will probably be operational for more than 10 years. After launch, the James Webb telescope had to start getting ready. make before use. There were 344 critical points of failure known where if it went wrong the mission would fail. Shortly after the rocket was disconnected, the solar panels unfolded. in the first week of January 2022, the sunshade was deployed and on January 8, the mirrors and instruments were moved into position. This started the testing phase and 49 critical points of failure remained.

Mission

The goals of the James Webb Space Telescope are: Collecting light from stars and galaxies that formed shortly after the Big Bang Determining how these oldest galaxies evolved Observing the formation of new galaxies Measuring the physical and chemical composition of distant galaxies and investigating the possibility of the existence of life. These objects are easily observable in the infrared, which is why the telescope is suitable for wa

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