The James Webb Space Telescope Gets Closer To Launch

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a little bit closer to beginning its mission as the Hubble’s successor. This revolutionary piece of astronomy equipment just completed a extensive series of tests at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

It has now moved on for its next round of testing prior to complete assembly and its upcoming launch in October of 2018. Just what does it take to test this impressive and soon-to-be historic telescope?

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Image Source: Wikimedia

Expanding Capabilities Beyond The Hubble
The JWST has been specifically designed to expand NASA’s observatory capabilities beyond the Hubble. It will provide new levels of resolution and sensitivity across long-wavelength visible light through near-to-mid-infrared light, allowing for expanded visibility into further reaches of space.

It also has a larger segmented primary mirror that measures over 21 feet, which is a considerable upgrade from the Hubble’s 7.9 foot mirror. It will also offer seven times the collecting area.

After more than two decades of construction, the JWST was just completed at the Goddard Space Flight center in November. It has since undergone a series of tests to see how it will endure a rigorous launch and the demands of deep space.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

Preparing For The Rigors Of Deep Space  
Goddard engineers recently tested the curvature of the JWST’s mirrors using a series of laser created interference patterns. The testing was completed to confirm that the mirrors were not altered in the process of spaceflight simulations completed earlier this year.

Now the JWST is on its way to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where it will be subjected to temperatures of -440 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees above absolute zero) within the vacuum of Johnson’s Chamber A.

Once completed, the JWST will then move on to final testing and assembly at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California. It will then make a final Earth-based journey to French Guiana, which will serve at its launch point.

Are you eager to see what happens once the James Webb Space Telescope finally leaves Earth and what it will enable us to see? Comment and tell us your thoughts.

Article Sources
https://www.scientificamerican.com
http://www.space.com
https://jwst.nasa.gov

James Spader
 

Comes from a long line of American manufacturers and small business owners. His passions have always been journalism and World War II history. When not working, he enjoys cooking and competing in amateur chess tournaments.

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