Yesterday, October 31, 2020, marks exactly a year before NASA intends to put its high-tech and extremely powerful James Webb Space Telescope into orbit. The launch date for the telescope is currently set for October 31, 2021. That will be a Sunday, and scientists all around the world are greatly anticipating the launch.
The Hubble Space Telescope is very old and still makes some incredible discoveries. The James Webb Space Telescope is said to be 100 times more powerful than the Hubble. James Webb will be launched from the European Spaceport ELA-3 launch complex. It would be pushed into orbit atop an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket.
While the James Webb Space Telescope is a very large machine, it folds origami-like to fit into the spacecraft and deploy once in orbit. The telescope is incredibly expensive at $8.8 billion and is a successor to the Hubble in many ways. James Webb is the largest, most powerful, and most complex space telescope ever constructed and is named after James E. Webb, administrator at NASA, during part of the Apollo era.
The telescope’s incredible power will operate on a ten-year primary mission to study the solar system, snap photos of exoplanets, reveal the first galaxies never seen by humanity, and explore the mysteries of the universe’s origins. After launch, the telescope will travel about 1 million miles over 30 days post-launch until it arrives at the second Lagrange point known as L2.
In that orbit, Webb will stay in line with the earth as it moves around the sun. That orbit is a significant improvement compared to the Hubble because the Hubble orbits the Earth and is only able to observe when it’s on the night-side of the planet. Webb will be continuously shielded from the sun and can operate continually. L2 also provides a direct line of sight to the Earth, allowing NASA to send instructions at all times.