Following the Christmas Day launch, the James Webb Space Telescope is now more than 750,000 miles from Earth and about 150,000 miles from its destination orbit, which is scheduled to arrive later this month.
When the highly advanced observatory comes under fire this summer to begin deep-space exploration for the first time, potentially grand discoveries await that could lead to a new understanding of the universe and our place within it.
With Webb’s critical sunshield and mirror deployment now complete, NASA has released a short video (below) in which some members of the Webb team are talking about their experiences working on the mission.
The video was recorded before the closure of the web, with several contributors speaking from the launch site in French Guiana. The footage also shows the team preparing and testing the telescope before sending it into space.
before exciting @NASAWeb At launch, we caught up with some of the Webb team to share their experiences working across the US on NASA’s latest space telescope and launching in tropical Kourou, French Guiana! pic.twitter.com/5aemxQ6UaZ
— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) 12 January 2022
An estimated 10,000 people have worked on the James Webb Space Telescope mission over the years, with experts from NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency all contributing to the ambitious project.
In the video, several members of the team explain how they have been working on the $10 billion mission for more than a decade, with others noting the many delays in the effort.
“It’s been a very real experience on the project for as long as it has been, and has gone through a lot of ups and downs and delays,” said Colette Lepage, NASA’s contamination control engineer. A day before launch, it almost doesn’t feel real.”
Another NASA engineer, Alan Abeel, commented: “This project has been a long time in coming and has been a wonderful collaboration between many international organizations sharing a common mission.” Abel described the mission as “a demonstration of what humanity can do when we all come together with a common purpose for the good of mankind.”
In the team’s own words, the Webb mission will attempt to “observe the universe’s first galaxies, reveal the birth of stars and planets, and look for exoplanets with the potential for life.”
For a detailed look at the mission, check out Nerdshala’ article telling you all you need to know.