The James Webb Space Telescope
One of the greatest scientific achievements of recent times, is the new James Webb space telescope. The largest ever made, weighing in at over six tonnes. Launched in late 2021, it has taken just six and a half months to manoeuvre into its orbit, deploy its sunshield, mirrors and send back its first image.
A Brief History of Time The JW Telescope
Back in 1996, when President Bill Clinton was in office, the project to build the successor to the Hubble Telescope was initiated.
This is how it panned out.
- In 2003, the first contract was awarded to TRW Inc
- In 2011, the project was briefly threatened with cancellation under the Barack Obama Presidency, but it survived.
- From 2011 to 2016 construction and testing took place
- Launch due in 2019 was delayed due to issues arising during testing and laterly the Covid-19 pandemic.
- September 2021 – Launch delayed a further four times, the final time, due to poor weather.
- 25th Dec 2021 – we have lift off!
- 24th January 2022 – telescope arrives at its destination orbit some 1 million miles from earth and starts to deploy itself.
- 12th July 2022 – First James Webb images are returned.
Over $11 billion in costs, The James Webb Space Telescope should be sending incredible images back to 2032 and beyond, that will help advance our knowledge and understanding of the Universe.
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Although a huge variety of scientists and engineers contributed to the James Webb Space Telecope, without world class Physicist, the project would never have even been commissioned.
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