Whew! A major milestone was achieved today in the James Webb Space Telescope’s journey towards launch. After the telescope successfully arrived in French Guiana yesterday after a secretive 16-day ocean journey (with apparently no pirates in sight), today the telescope took a short road trip over land to the ESA’s spaceport in Kourou. JWST is now at the payload processing facility, where staff will start the process of getting the telescope into the Ariane 5 rocket fairing.
Launch is currently scheduled for December 18, 2021 … T-66 days and counting!
The world's largest, most expensive space telescope has *not* been hijacked by pirates.What a time to be alive that I can write that sentence. pic.twitter.com/XsI4gLL0AG— Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) October 12, 2021
JWST was shipped in a specially built French vessel named the MN Colibri, designed to transport aerospace components inside a water-tight chamber the size of a football field. The massive clean air chamber was built so JWST would not be exposed to vibrations, any excessive G forces of acceleration and deceleration, the rolling or pitching on the water due to sea swell or wind, or excessive temperatures.
The 9,300 km (5,800-mile) voyage took Webb from California through the Panama ...