Nasa to launch James Webb Space Telescope on December 18
Dimapur, September 8 (EMN): The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) on Wednesday has announced that it plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on December 18, 2021.
The JWST was originally planned for launch in 2018, however, the program suffered numerous delays owing to factors like assembling parts and Covid-19 restrictions, the agency was finally able to set the new launch date to December 18.
“The agency set the new target launch date in coordination with Arianespace after Webb recently and successfully completed its rigorous testing regimen – a major turning point for the mission. The new date also follows Arianespace successfully launching an Ariane 5 rocket in late July and scheduling a launch that will precede Webb. The July launch was the first for an Ariane 5 since August 2020,” wrote Nasa on its webpage.
The JWST is the result of an international program called “Webb” led by Nasa along with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency as partners. The JWST will liftoff from the French Guiana on board the ESA’s Ariane 5 rocket on December 18.
“Webb is an exemplary mission that signifies the epitome of perseverance,” wrote Gregory L. Robinson, Webb’s program director at Nasa Headquarters in Washington. “I am inspired by our dedicated team and our global partnerships that have made this incredible endeavour possible. Together, we’ve overcome technical obstacles along the way as well as challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. I also am grateful for the steadfast support of Congress. Now that we have an observatory and a rocket ready for launch, I am looking forward to the big day and the amazing science to come.”
The JWST is considered to be the successor to the venerable Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST is the largest and the most powerful space telescope ever built to date and Nasa is banking on the JWST’s capabilities to help solve the universe’s biggest mysteries.
The JWST will primarily scan the universe in the infrared spectrum giving it the ability to see distant early galaxies that were out of reach for the Hubble Space Telescope.
Here is Nasa explaining JWST’s capabilities on its website: “The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity. The longer wavelengths enable Webb to look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.”