NASA announced that the device is now fully operational. In the near future, it is to be loaded onto a ship and will sail to French Guiana, where it will be prepared for flight with the Ariane-5 rocket. However, the agency will not disclose when the telescope will begin its journey by ship, as it is afraid of pirates who may try to take a ransom for it or simply damage it. We are talking here about the most expensive device sent into space, worth more than 10 billion dollars.
The Ariane-5 rocket on board with the James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to take place on October 31, 2021. Arianespace is responsible for the entire project. The device will observe the abyss of the Universe from the orbit around the sun, namely from the so-called point L2. The most important part of the device, i.e. the mirror, will consist of 18 hexagonal segments, each of which will be over a meter in diameter. In total, the mirror surface made of beryllium will be as much as 25.4 m2.
JWST is to change beyond recognition our observations of phenomena occurring throughout the Universe. It will be such a precise instrument that thanks to it we will obtain images of the first stars and galaxies that formed just after the Big Bang. We will also get information on the formation of WebNews and star systems, as well as discover new, existence-friendly life for the planet, and perhaps even traces of alien civilizations. Humanity needs these types of instruments to find its place in the cosmos and answer the age-old questions: where do we come from and where are we going.
NASA already plans to build much larger and more complex devices. They will be created much faster and for less money. The agency has recently invested in a space telescope project, which, once it reaches orbit, will consist of dozens of parts by itself. In order to minimize the construction costs of such new generation telescopes, individual components of the installation will be sent into space on various missions.
Once the individual parts are at point L2, a special robot will put them together, creating a telescope. If there are any unforeseen problems, the next components will be sent back into space and the robot will take care of putting them together.
The instrument will consist of dozens of hexagonal modules approximately one meter wide. The entire telescope is to have a mirror diameter of over 30 meters and be the largest of its kind in history. Interestingly, the Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched in space next year, boasts a mirror diameter of only 6.5 meters (the Hubble Space Telescope has a mirror 2.4 meters in diameter).