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James Webb Telescope's Journey From Stashing To Release As It Readies For Dec 18 Launch

A new video released by the telescope on YouTube has revealed that the telescope will spend 29 harrowing days on the edge of space once it is launched.

NASA

Image: James Webb Space Telescope


NASA’s state-of-the-art creation, the James Webb Space Telescope is nearing its launch this year and its creators are amplifying the excitement with fresh details regarding the new observatory. A new video released by the telescope on YouTube has revealed that the telescope will spend 29 harrowing days on the edge of space once it is deployed from the earth. From its stashing in the Ariane 5 rocket to its release millions of kilometres away from Earth, this eight-minute video will surely bring you to the edge of your seat. Watch the video here.

The telescope and its stashing

In the video, Webb program director Greg Robinson can be heard explaining that the telescope is like a 21.3-foot mirror which has to be folded like origami to fit it into the Ariane 5 rocket to be provided by Arianespace. The scientists are faced with the tough task of safely storing the delicate and expansive telescope into the rocket which has a diameter measuring only 5.4 metres.

It will be fairly challenging for the experts to escort the rocket out of Earth’s atmosphere as the telescope under the rocket will have to endure rigorous vibrations and shaking for eight minutes after the rocket takes off. Notably, NASA has chosen Arianespace for launch service as it is one of the world’s most powerful rockets. 

James Webb’s 29 days on the edge of space

Elaborating their plan, Robinson revealed that the Webb telescope is to undergo 50 major deployments which will be conducted by 178 release mechanisms. Since NASA is sending the observatory 1.6 million kilometres away from Earth, Robinson asserted that each of these mechanisms must work as the telescope has 300 single-point failure items. “When you're a million miles from the Earth, you can't send someone to fix it”, added Robinson.

However, even if those on Earth and Ariane 5 complete their job on their end, it will all be up to the proper working of Webb’s thrusters that will carry it deep into space if everything plays out perfectly after launch. Despite the telescope garnering controversies over its name, scientists hope that it will open new mysteries about the universe and its early days.

Image: James Webb Space Telescope

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