September 18, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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The James Webb Telescope has passed all the tests, and it has to go to the starting ramp

Upon successful completion of the final tests, the James Webb Space Telescope is ready to travel to Guyana, France. Will it finally be possible to launch the telescope into space after so many problems and launch delays?

James Webb telescope ready

as he writes NASA Engineers on its website were recently able to complete comprehensive system tests. He completed the telescope at Northrop Grumman, and most of the tests tested its capabilities “To work in space just as expected.”

NASA / Chris Jenn

The successor to the Hubble Telescope has been mentioned since 1996. According to preliminary conceptual studies, the James Webb Telescope was supposed to be launched as early as 2007, but as you can already guess, its launch has been delayed several times.

as he writes New Atlas On its website, other plans talked about the years from 2015 to 2018. The final construction of the telescope, after which extensive testing began, was completed in November 2016. In March 2018, NASA postponed the launch to June 2019 and then to May 2020. In July of the year Last, while testing telescope systems, engineers revealed a serious problem with the sunvisor.

There were cracks and voided joints. The coronavirus pandemic has also played a role, and the start has been pushed back again from March to October 2021.

We don’t want to shout anything out, but for now, it looks like the October deadline might really be the real launch date for the James Webb Telescope. However, the successor to Hubble still plays a difficult role.

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After completing tests of all systems and verifying the telescope’s ability to withstand extreme conditions at launch, engineers are now preparing to move it to the launch pad. The same in itself is a very complex task. This remarkable piece of equipment must be transported safely through the Panama Canal to its destination, which is Kourou in French Guiana on the northeastern coast of South America.

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Work is still more than enough

Currently all responsible personnel, from technicians supervising the telescope’s pollution, through traffic engineers, to experts from the logistics department, are preparing the telescope for its trip to the launch pad. At the same time, the telescope should be ready for transport sometime during the month of September.

However, experts from the Mission Operations Center (MOC) in Baltimore are not in the process of preparing for the transfer. They continue to frequently check and test the complex communications network, ensuring smooth and rapid transmission of various commands, warns the portal. space.

The Commerce Department is also preparing for the start, playing different scenarios for the live start on the start day, as well as exercises for other activities after the start. Once the telescope arrives in French Guiana, the teams responsible for launching it will prepare it for launch. It will also undergo a thorough re-examination, which will reveal if there was any damage during transportation.

space telescope It will bring a reliable Ariane 5 . missile. You will place it in a transition orbital orbit, and from where you will travel to the destination, the second Libra point (L2).

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It is 4 times farther from Earth than the Moon, and is located 1.5 million km from our planet. After detaching from the rocket, the telescope will continue on its way to point L2 completely alone.

Once Webb is active and detects sunlight, the telescope and all its instruments go into the shade, where it gradually begins to cool. According to NASA, maintaining the desired shape of the screen is a difficult and complex process. The sunshade of the telescope itself is as large as a tennis court and consists of 5 layers covered with a special polymer, thanks to which it will be able to reflect the emitted light and heat and cool the device to the required temperature of 223 ° C below. Freeze.

Once the observatory cools down and stabilizes at operating temperature, a long period of calibration of all scientific instruments will begin. The first scientific observations are expected to begin about 6 months after launch.