Bill Ochs, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project manager, revealed that the assembling of JWST’s distinctive instruments and parts took twenty (20) years and finally, JWST can be acclaimed as a noteworthy milestone in the generation of the spacecraft.
Furthermore, the new space telescope can be said to have bested Hubble, reputedly one of the largest and most versatile still in operation, as the Hubble is limited to ultraviolet and near-infrared. JWST utilizes high redshifts which allows viewing objects at longer distances, such as earlier universe galaxies. Thus, the Webb or JWST space telescope will primarily look at the universe in the infrared.
Delays have been inevitable in the creation of the JWST after development started in 1996. Nevertheless, a considerable milestone was achieved when JWST was completely assembled in an aerospace facility California owned by the Northrop Grumman Company.
Both of its halves made of mirrors and telescope on one part have been connected. The other part consists of the spacecraft and sun-shield.
JWST’s incredible achievement
Ochs lauded the efforts of a dedicated team composed of Northrop Grumman, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for this monumental achievement. He also acknowledged the help rendered by distinctive partners.
The JWST can be regarded as the spacecraft to take over the Hubble Space Telescope, but the wait has been prolonged by inevitable delays, such as technical problems and monetary constraints.
Unfortunately, Hubble has been prone to wear and tear and lost three (3) of its six (6) gyroscopes. Launched in 1990, it may soon be decommissioned as the last mission it undertook was in 2009.
JWST’s 2021 launch
The JWST is expected to be officially launched in 2021, and this can be viewed as an incredible step.
Funded by NASA in conjunction with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the infrared Webb telescope weighs 6 metric tons and will orbit 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. It features numerous technological innovations, including a deployable sun-shield and a folding segmented mirror.
Reportedly 100 times more powerful than Hubble, JWST or Webb is expected to discover distant planets in far-off galaxies and help determine the kind of atmosphere in other planets.
Space telescopes are instrumental in making distinctive discoveries. The Kepler space telescope, deemed as the grandfather of newer models, has been retired but the data collected from it still aids future missions.