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NASA-james webb space telescope

james webb space telescope

SP_090514_jwst-VS     167893main_spine_image2_large   The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror.  The project is working to a 2018 launch date.

The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. Webb was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST); it was renamed in Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.

Webb is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and theCanadian Space Agency (CSA). The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is managing the development effort. The main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute will operate Webb after launch.   images (1)   Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, microshutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryocooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K. In July 2008 NASA confirmed the Webb project to proceed into its implementation phase, and the project conducted a major mission review in March 2010. Here is a summary of the current mission status. images There will be four science instruments on Webb: the Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), the Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRSpec), the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and the Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS). Webb’s instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength. Webb has four main science themes: The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Reionization, The Assembly of Galaxies, The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems, and Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.

About Webb’s Launch

ariane1The Webb will be launched from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana.

The Launch Segment has 3 primary components:

1. Launch Vehicle: an Ariane 5 ECA with the cryogenic upper stage. It will be provided in the single launch configuration, with a long payload fairing providing a maximum 4.57 meter static diameter and useable length of 16.19 meters.

2. Payload Adapter, comprising the Cone 3936 plus ACU 2624 lower cylinder and clamp-band, which provides the separating mechanical and electrical interface between the Webb Observatory and the Launch Vehicle.

3. Launch campaign preparation and launch campaign.

ariane2_tThe European Space Agency (ESA) will provide the launch vehicle and the payload adapter to the Webb Mission. The launch campaign preparation and launch campaign is the mutual responsibility of NASA, ESA, NGST, and Arianespace.

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