It is a technological marvel, it is massive, and now the James Webb Space Telescope has a launch date and time after being encapsulated
The James Webb Space Telescope is now scheduled to launch on Friday, December 24th at 7:20 a.m. EST (12:20 UTC) on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. You can watch the live launch as on SpaceQ.
The launch has been a long-time coming, oft delayed.
The Webb telescope was originally proposed in 1996 as the Next Generation Space Telescope with a launch date of 2007. Now 14 years after the originally scheduled launch date and with huge cost overruns, the massive US$10+ billion space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is finally ready for launch, or at least everyone hopes so.
Canada’s contribution include a fine guidance sensor that will help the telescope precisely point at objects, and a spectrograph – the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph – to study objects ranging from exoplanets to galaxies.
In November Erick Dupuis, the Canadian Space Agency’s director of space exploration development that “this is the single highest investment Canada’s ever made into a science instrument for space mission. It’s also one that will provide the most amazing return on investment.”
That investment is reported to be around $200 million. However, unlike their European or NASA counterparts, the Canadian built instruments were on-budget.
After launch it will take 29 days before the telescope arrives at its home, the L2 Lagrange point. At this point the telescope will hopefully unfold. It will then take up to six months to test and prepare the telescope to begin scientific observations. Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope which astronauts could service, and did, the Webb telescope is not designed to be serviced.