NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, seen during test operations at Northrop Grumman Space Park in California, is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2021. (Photo credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)
is a big step towards the planned release this fall.
European Space Agency (ESA) officials announced that the $9.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope mission has passed a critical launch review, allowing it to be launched by the Ariane 5 rocket before the end of the year.
ESA officials wrote in the July 1 update: “This important milestone in cooperation with Ariane Aerospace, Weber’s launch service provider, confirmed that Ariane 5, Weber Spacecraft and Flight The plan is ready to launch.” “It also specifically provides final confirmation that all aspects of the launch vehicle and spacecraft are fully compatible.”
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Although Webb is primarily a NASA mission, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are important partners. CSA is supplying the telescope’s guidance sensor and one of its science instruments. ESA also contributed some scientific equipment to the mission and provided launch services. Acquired the Ariane 5 heavy lift to allow Webb to take off. The
launch will take place from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The mission team is working hard to secure a launch readiness date of October 1. 31, but it’s not expected to really take off on Halloween.
“The exact launch date after October 31 depends on the spaceport launch schedule and will be finalized close to the launch preparation date,” ESA officials wrote in the same statement. After launching
, Weber will head to Lagrangian Point 2 Sun-Earth, which is a gravitationally stable point about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from our planet. The observatory has a 21.3-foot-wide (6.5-meter) primary mirror and an expandable sun visor the size of a tennis court, and will then begin observing the universe under infrared light. You will study the oldest stars and galaxies in the universe and look for signs of life in the atmospheres of alien planets, as well as many other tasks.
In the last two missions, the Ariane 5 rocket encountered a system problem that could separate the payload fairing, which is a protective cone that encapsulates the satellite during launch. According to “Space News”, these missions were still successful, but the rocket more or less stopped while the team tried to solve the problem.
Therefore, the Ariane 5 has not flown since August 2020. But its grounding period will end soon: the rocket plans to launch two communications satellites on July 27. Before the launch of Webb, another Ariane 5 mission is underway; According to Spaceflight Now, another satellite communications mission will be completed in late September.