Countdown to rewriting the textbooks again - JWST launch imminent

Unmanned space is about to take another leap forward. The James Webb Space Telescope is on the pad and a Go for launch Christmas Day. Such a fitting successor to HST and the product of well over a decade of hard work and innovation by thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians.
7:20 AM EST. Enjoy!

NASA Sets Coverage, Invites Public to View Webb Telescope Launch | NASA

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Incredibly exciting!

There are so many things which have to go right for this to work. There are many steps to the unfolding of the telescope once it is in place.

An unlike Hubble, the new telescope is to far away in its orbit for someone to go and fix it.

Go! Webb Telescope! Go!

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Very, very exciting. I am anxious to see pictures.

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Keep in mind JWST is an infrared mission, an intentional choice for a bunch of cutting-edge science reasons (red-shift, cold ‘dark matter’, etc.). The images of the IR universe (out to 28 microns) are going to be very different from what the public is accustomed to from HST. That is part of the excitement, seeing the neighborhood with a new generation of wide field of view cryogenically cooled detectors. Prepare to be amazed. :o)

It will be incredible.

JWST will have a color palette as does Hubble. We will see color photos as before, but they will reveal different things as JWST will be looking at different energy. I think we will all be amused and amazed.

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If anyone is interested the launch is livestreaming on the NASA website. Coverage begins at 0600 Eastern Daylight (US) Time, around 10 minutes from now, and launch is at 0720. Here is the link to the NASA site https://www.nasa.gov/content/live-coverage-of-the-james-webb-space-telescope-mission

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Really cool tech. Thanks!

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What an awesome machine. Kind of makes all of the daily issues with humanity seem small.

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A picture-perfect launch this morning! We have confirmation the observatorys’ solar array has auto-deployed as planned. The S/C is generating its’ own power. First major deployment step complete. JWST is remarkable in how it had to be engineered to fold a 6.5 meter primary mirror into an envelope compatible with the Ariane shroud. Curious about the deployment sequence? NASA provides a very cool deployment explorer to follow the timeline:

Deployment Explorer Webb/NASA

After deployment of all the subsystems, there will be additional time needed to bring the instruments on-line and perform check-out. If all goes as planned, first light in about 2-4 weeks and I can’t wait. Merry Christmas to the world with a true, international effort.

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Yes!

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That was a cool launch. I remember studying the cosmos as a grade schooler in the mid '60’s waiting for the Apollo missions to start. We have come a long way in a short amount of time. Maybe not socially but technologically for sure.

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Here’s a link to the page that has all the updates and deployments. Where Is Webb? NASA/Webb

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Time for a JWST update, PSA Space Cadets. The deployment sequence has now been completed through secondary mirror deployment and instrument aft radiator deployment. Personally I was on edge for the secondary mirror deployment because that is one-shot only. If it doesn’t deploy the mission is over. If it doesn’t deploy to within positional tolerance, the image quality will be degraded. JWST deployment is the most impressive display of sheer technical prowess in a open, civilian mission I’m aware of. Next up, deployment of the segmented mirror wings and it is off to L2 in the final burn. With the sunshield and aft radiator deployed the instrument cool down can begin. It will take weeks to reach cryogenic operating temperature. I can’t wait for first light.

Deployment Explorer Webb/NASA for the latest deployment status.

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NPR had great coverage as the mirror deployment finished. The engineering team was elated, wonderful fun!

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I think there are over 300 tasks that have to work or it’s going to be a failure. No pressure at all.

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This is my understanding as well. And, unlike Hubble, it is not an easy drive out to fix it.

On a positive note, of the 344 single points of failure, after the deployment of the secondary mirror we are past over 80% of them.

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That’s simply awesome. No other word does it justice.

Another success today

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Everything is now properly deployed and locked into place!

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