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James Webb telescope passes milestone

Posted on Monday, 27 January, 2014 | Comment icon 8 comments

Engineers work on the telescope's hexagonal mirror segments. Image Credit: NASA / Drew Noel

The ambitious successor to the Hubble will be the most powerful space telescope ever created.

Having first been announced back in 1996, the road hasn't been an easy one for the project. Issues with funding almost saw the whole thing cancelled in 2011, but now a critical review milestone has opened the doors to its completion and launch by 2018.

"This is the last major element-level critical design review of the program," said NASA's Richard Lynch. "What that means is all of the designs are complete for the Webb and there are no major designs left to do."

Designed to be the successor to the existing Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the James Webb Space Telescope will be optimized to observe the universe in infrared using a much larger mirror and orbiting at a greater distance that its predecessors.

Scientists hope to use the telescope to learn more about the formation of galaxies, planets and stars while peering further in to the depths of space than ever before.

Source: Red Orbit | Comments (8)

Tags: James Webb, Hubble

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Xynoplas on 24 January, 2014, 19:52
It seems to be a radically (?) different design from other space telescopes such as the Hubble. It lacks a lens tube, and I guess that's so the mirrors can fold up for launch.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 January, 2014, 21:00
There is no "lens tube" on Hubble either, it being a reflecting telescope not a refracting. Omission of the tube is not a radical design difference. Many amateur telescope also do not have tubes (see on Dobsonian telescopes. Scroll down the page and you will see several instruments lacking a tube) and nor do large professional instruments (see the image of the 100 in Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory on , and remember this telescope is 97 years old) . The tube has two uses, it prevents stray light hitting the optics and it is the structural exoskeleton of the telesc... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Calibeliever on 27 January, 2014, 20:47
The Hubble was such a huge leap forward. I'm glad we're continuing to invest in projects like this and not resting on our laurels.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot on 28 January, 2014, 11:44
Waiting so long on this project but it keeps me interested since it was announced. Cant wait to see this artwork operating in space. Thanks Hubble but u are too old dear friend.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 January, 2014, 0:18
This video shows in-depth what will happen when James Webb Space Telescope deploys after launch. For more information, see this deion on our website: http://jwst.nasa.gov/faq.html#howdeploy This video has no sound. It is current to January 2014. Credit: NASA/Northrop Grumman Corporation
Comment icon #6 Posted by atomk12 on 29 January, 2014, 17:54
How long before our government takes it over and makes sure that we only see what they want seen?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Xynoplas on 29 January, 2014, 19:11
Having worked professionally a little bit at Loral, I'm a something of a satellite geek (and laser jock), so it's fascinating for me to see how they intend to deploy this. It really looks complicated and involved, but I am sure they will have all the kinks worked out by launch.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Calibeliever on 29 January, 2014, 19:47

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