Space & Astronomy
James Webb Space Telescope has launched successfully
By T.K. Randall
December 25, 2021 · 28 comments
Lift-off! The launch was a complete success. Image Credit: NASA
After 25 years of development, the next-generation space telescope has finally made it into orbit.
Just in time for Christmas and after more than a decade of delays and setbacks, the James Webb Space Telescope soared into the heavens atop an Arianne 5 rocket this morning.
The result of a long-running international collaboration between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, the next-generation observatory will provide scientists with an unprecedented view of the cosmos thanks to a resolution and sensitivity that is unrivalled by anything that has come before.
Its primary goals will be to image some of the first stars and galaxies to have formed after the Big Bang, to study the formation and evolution of galaxies, to better understand the formation of stars and planets and to study the origins of life in the universe.
It should even be able to provide clearer direct imaging of planets in orbit around distant stars.
To make all this possible, the telescope will be positioned much further away from the Earth than the Hubble Space Telescope at a distance of 930,000 miles, which is beyond the orbit of the Moon.
What it finds over the next few years could revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos.
"Webb is an exemplary mission that signifies the epitome of perseverance," said program director Gregory L. Robinson.
"I am inspired by our dedicated team and our global partnerships that have made this incredible endeavour possible."