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How The James Webb Space Telescope Will Deploy (In An Ideal World)

2 Feb 2018, 15:01 UTC
How The James Webb Space Telescope Will Deploy (In An Ideal World)
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An artist’s impression of what the fully-deployed James Webb Space telescope will look like from the perspective of an observer on the ‘dark’ (non-Sun-facing) side of the observatory. Image credit: Northrop Grumman.If everything goes right, astronomy will take a magnificent leap into the future. But here’s what needs to happen first.Back in 2000, NASA held their decadal survey, choosing what would become the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as their flagship mission of the 2010s. Despite the initial mismanagement of the project, causing it to go way over budget, the project scientists leading the way learned a slew of valuable lessons from this, and remained on-budget from 2011 up through their planned launch in the spring of 2019. The entire telescope is built, awaiting its final tests, instrument integration, and the last stages of assembly, before it’s loaded onto the Ariane 5 rocket that will take it to its ultimate destination: to the L2 Lagrange point, over 1,000,000 kilometers from Earth. Despite all the challenges it’s faced, it should be 100% ready-to-go when 2019 rolls around. Here’s what we have to look forward to when the time comes.The science instruments aboard the ISIM module being lowered and installed into the ...

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