Tags: james webb | space | telescope | launch

James Webb Space Telescope: Folded Up Launch Being Tested

Image: James Webb Space Telescope: Folded Up Launch Being Tested

Engineers stacked and unfurled a full-sized test unit of the Sunshield on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. (Rex Features via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 11:21 AM

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which must be folded up before its launch, is now being tested and will replace the Hubble Space Telescope.

This $9 billion telescope has to be “carefully folded to fit into a space about the size of a school bus before takeoff,” according to NPR.

This great space telescope, which is “designed to provide unprecedented images of the earliest stars and galaxies” in the universe, is now in its final round of ground testing, NPR noted.

However, before it can actually prepare for takeoff, there are still a lot of engineering quirks that have to be worked out, and one of those challenges is the telescope's need for infrared, which will enable the scope “to see some of the earliest stars and galaxies that formed billions of years ago,” NPR noted.

Infrared telescopes have to remain at cold temperatures in order to work effectively, which is why engineers have created a layered sun shield to prevent the telescope from reaching warm or even hot temperatures.

“That’s like a big umbrella – beach umbrella – so, we keep that facing the sun and the Earth so it dissipates all the heat through all the layers,” said Begona Vila, an astrophysicist and systems engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, according to NPR. “That allows all the instruments to cool to the temperatures that we need.”

This launch has been in the works for 20 years and has cost NASA billions of dollars, but the agency is on track and on budget to launch the telescope in October of 2018, the Columbus Dispatch noted.

The telescope is named after NASA Administrator James Webb, who led the independent agency during the 1960s, The Dispatch noted.

“Today, we’re celebrating the fact that our telescope is finished, and we’re about to prove that it works,” astrophysicist John Mather, senior project scientist for the JWST, announced last week at a news conference at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, according to Futurism. “We’ve done two decades of innovation and hard work, and this is the result – we’re opening up a whole new territory of astronomy.”

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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which must be folded up before its launch, is now being tested and will replace the Hubble Space Telescope.
james webb, space, telescope, launch
363
2016-21-29
Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 11:21 AM
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