The James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful, was launched on Saturday from the European base in Kourou, French Guiana, after several successive delays.
Look at the release timing:
The launch took place aboard a European-made Ariane 5 rocket at 12:20 (Lisbon time).
Engineers from ISQ – Institute for Welding and Quality are involved in the safety of the launches, and Portuguese astronomer Catarina Alves de Oliveira, who works at the European Space Agency (ESA) Science Operations Center in Spain, is responsible for the calibration of a of Webb’s instruments.
The new telescope, whose development began more than 30 years ago, is the result of a partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA), North America (NASA), the project leader, and their Canadian counterparts (CSA).
James Webb’s sending into space has been successively delayed, year after year. The initial budget of US$500 million (€442 million) has fallen to more than $10 billion (€8.8 billion).
Astronomers using the telescope, named after a former NASA commander, hope to obtain more data on the early days of the universe, including the births of galaxies and the first stars.
As if it were a “time machine”, James Webb would allow us to capture the faint light of distant celestial bodies, 13.5 billion years ago, when the universe was very young (estimated age of the universe by Big Bang theory is 13.8 billion years).
The new telescope is said to be the successor to Hubble, which has been in orbit for 31 years, 570 kilometers from Earth.
Webb’s main mirror, which has a diameter of 6.5 meters, has a sensitivity 100 times greater than the Hubble mirror (which has a diameter of 2.4 meters).
Once launched, James Webb will travel for about a month through space, “spreading” its components until it acquires its final composition and is 1.5 million km from Earth.
The telescope is equipped with a collapsible sun shield the size of a tennis court that will keep you cool while operating. Scientific observations are expected to begin six months after launch and first data in mid-2022.
Due to its distance from Earth, Webb cannot be fixed in orbit, unlike Hubble, so its “life expectancy” is short, from five to ten years.
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