NASA’s long-awaited flagship observatory — the James Webb Space Telescope — is slated for take-off after October this year, as the space agency continues its talks with the European Space Agency (ESA) to fix a final launch date. This comes after their initial announcement in July last year in which the Webb Telescope was due for take-off on Halloween, October 31, 2021. According to NASA, the launch of the Webb Telescope is being tentatively planned “approximately four months after the first launch of the Ariane 5” that is slated for late July. Ariane 5 is the rocket on which the Webb telescope will be launched.
To ensure a safe take-off for the telescope, two Ariane 5 launches have been scheduled before the final launch of the telescope from the spaceport in French Guiana. In August, the Webb Telescope will be shipped to the launch site, post which a minimum of two months will be set aside for the launch processing.
According to a NASA statement, the observatory has completed all the post-environmental testing deployments, and it is in its final integration and folding stages.The mission “remains on schedule for a launch readiness date no earlier than October 31, 2021.”
The James Webb Space Telescope is garnering a lot of attention among space enthusiasts who are in deep anticipation of the studies and findings that this telescope will facilitate. Work on this telescope was initiated back in 1997 for a launch that was expected to happen in 2007. However, extensive testing and technical glitches have delayed the launch by more than a decade, leaving the space community in deeper anticipation for its take-off this year.
According to NASA, this is the “largest space telescope ever built.”
The largest space telescope ever built, #NASAWebb will turn its keen infrared vision towards the first stars and galaxies in our universe, distant worlds around other stars, as well as objects in our own solar system. ✨ #StateOfNASA pic.twitter.com/0bEjaXgjdg
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) June 2, 2021
The excitement surrounding the Webb is not without reason. Going by NASA’s own words, the James Webb Telescope will study the origins of our universe, and help scientists unravel the mystery behind the creation of solar systems including our own.
The Webb, with its longer wavelength coverage and enhanced sensitivities, will complement the Hubble Space Telescope in getting a closer look at “the beginning of time,” helping scientists study the creation of the first-ever galaxies. It will also help scientists look through dust clouds in order to study the luminaries and cosmic bodies being born today.