NASA has recently delivered good news on the health of the James Webb Space Telescope after an incident that could seriously delay its launch schedule.
The most powerful space telescope ever built faced a scare earlier this month when a clamp band — used to secure Webb to a launch vehicle adapter — was suddenly released as the spacecraft was forced to hit the launch site. But the Ariane 5 was being attached to the rocket’s upper stage. French Guiana.
The unexpected event passed a vibration through the observatory that engineers feared might damage some of its components.
After a thorough investigation, NASA reported Wednesday that the observatory and spacecraft are in good condition, allowing it to live up to its most recently announced launch date of December 22.
“The NASA-led Anomaly Review Board concluded that no observatory components were damaged in the incident,” space agency said In a post on his website. “A ‘consent to fuel’ was reviewed, and NASA approved to begin fueling the observatory. Refueling will begin Thursday, November 25 and will take approximately 10 days.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the result of an international collaboration between NASA and the European and Canadian space agencies.
Once deployed, it will set about exploring deep space in the hopes of learning more about our solar system and beyond.
“Webb will reveal new and unexpected discoveries, and help humanity understand the origins of the universe and our place in it,” NASA said.
The telescope is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been exploring the universe since 1990 and bringing back some incredible imagery.
There are several important differences between the two observatories. According to NASA: “Webb will observe the universe primarily in the infrared, while Hubble studies it primarily at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths (though it has some infrared capability). Webb also has a much larger mirror than Hubble. This large light gathering area means that Webb can look more backwards than Hubble over time. Hubble is in a much closer orbit around Earth, while Webb will be 932,000 miles (1.5 million km) away.”
The video below presents a comparison of the sizes of Webb’s and Hubble’s mirrors. Also look at the giant sunshield under Webb’s mirror, which is said to be the size of a tennis court.
The Webb observatory is too large to fit into the nose cone of the rocket in its open position. The solution was to build a foldable design that folds up once in space.
NASA has given good news about James Webb Space Telescope, now we can expect it to launch in few weeks from now. Watch closer in time for full details on how to watch the livestream of lift-off.