The James Webb telescope finally reaches a long-awaited point in its development: the tests have been completed and it is ready for transport and launch.
It seemed that this moment would never come because NASA’s James Webb telescope has had a rather bumpy development and with setbacks, but it seems that it will finally fulfill its agenda and that it will finally be launched this year. Something we have more hope for after knowing that the James Webb has successfully passed all his tests.
NASA has confirmed that the JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) has already completed this phase and that it is finally being packed and ready to go to your launch site. A telescope that, as we discussed here, has had many eyes (and hopes) on it for a long time, being the replacement for the ancient and heroic Hubble, still active since 1990 but with some failures (especially lately).
October is still the planned month
JWST was going to be launched neither more nor less than in 2007, but the more than fifteen delays (for very varied reasons: damage to the sun visor, cracks in membranes, etc.) have meant that in 2021 it is still on the earth’s surface. The viability of the project was even questioned, but with more than 9.5 billion dollars already invested and the efforts of various teams James Webb progressed little by little, despite so many calamities.
The US space agency explains that, once the tests are completed, now transport and packaging operations begin. The JWST is to reach French Guyana, specifically Kourou, through the Panama Canal.
This preparation is not something simple in the case of a large and complex device, NASA calculating that the preparation will be completed during the month of September. In fact, the reason it will be transported by boat is that it’s so heavy (about 6,500 kilograms) that would exceed the load limits on the bridges from the French Guiana airport to the destination space center.
As their transport preparation progresses, other teams (at the MOC, the mission operations center) continue to review (and “re-review”) the complex communications system that will be used with the JWST. And once you get to Kourou, the setup for the flight will start, which will involve more checking and making sure that the entire transport process to French Guiana has gone smoothly.
Once they make sure that the structures are in good condition, it will be time to fill tanks with the fuel and compounds necessary for the engines to roar and the launch and climb maneuver to proceed without incident. The launch is still planned for October 31, 2021, using an Ariane 5 rocket provided by ESA.
It will take James Webb a month to reach his location in space, more or less 1,609,244 kilometers from Earth. A few days after launch, the umbrellas will be deployed so that the instruments do not overheat, and little by little the mirrors will be deployed, one of the most critical points in the commissioning of this colossal telescope.
So we will be waiting for the JWST to arrive in Kourou for now. Also from if we have to end up calling him in another way, since in principle his baptism would be reviewed, after doubts about the implication of the director of NASA between 1961 and 1968 in the possible discrimination against LGTBI people.
Imágenes | NASA/Chris Gunn, Chris Gunn/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center