NASA Jobs is all set to launch its most powerful space telescope on Christmas Day, following delays due to weather conditions. The James Webb Space Telescope was originally scheduled to be launched on December 24 but was delayed due to adverse weather conditions at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Nasa announced the new launch date of December 25 in a tweet. The rocket cum aerotek carrying the telescope is set to roll out to the launchpad today.
The telescope is one of Nasa’s most anticipated projects following decades of development and its launch comes as a welcome Christmas treat for the scientists jobs, engineers, and technicians involved.
Nasa and Arianespace, a French satellite launch company, successfully completed the Launch Readiness Review for the James Webb Space Telescope on December 21. The team authorized the Ariane 5 rocket carrying Webb to rollout and the start of launch sequencing for the mission.
The James Webb Space Telescope is a $10 billion collaboration between Nasa, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. Nasa has high expectations for the James Webb Space Telescope to ‘study every phase in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own solar system’.
As part of the build-up to Saturday’s highly anticipated launch, NASA has released a trailer nudging us to ‘prepare for a new way to see the universe’.
The Webb telescope is 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope that’s been beaming back astonishing images of space for three decades.
The telescope features a huge gold-plated mirror with a diameter of 6.5 meters that will capture light from some of the faintest objects in the universe.
It also includes a giant sun shield the size of a tennis court, which, along with the mirror, has been folded to fit inside the rocket for launch. Once deployed, both the sun shield and mirror will fully open to allow the Webb telescope to begin its work.
This week, Sarah Kendrew, a scientist who has been working on the project for the last 15 years and is now at the launch site in French Guiana, described Webb as ‘the most technically challenging instrument that we’ve built in astronomy’ in an interview with BBC Radio. ‘Everyone is very excited…There are definitely some prelaunch nerves,’ she added.
The Webb telescope will explore our solar system and the most distant observable galaxies in the universe, giving us a better understanding of the origins of the universe and our place in it.