a James Webb Space Telescope Really on the way.
The massive observatory was launched today (December 25) from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 7:20 AM EST (12:20 AM GMT). After just 12.5 hours, the spacecraft began a vital maneuver on its month-long journey to its future location, as the observatory performed a 65-minute burn that ended at 8:55 p.m. EDT (0155 GMT), according to the NASA statement.
A space telescope is programmed to orbit a point in space known as Lagrangian point of the Earth’s sun 2 or L2, which is 1 million miles (1.5 million km) from Earth, on the other side of the sun. The spacecraft covered the first 10% of that flight 12 hours after launch. So when the telescope was 100,000 miles (160,000 km) away, the earthThe observatory carried out a critical burn to ensure it reached its destination safely.
According to NASAKnown as mid-path correction burn 1a or MCC1a, this burn was the most important of the three burns a spacecraft might experience during its L2 flight, and the only one whose timing should be particularly careful.
Spacecraft often need to perform a trajectory maneuver in the hours after launch to compensate for slight differences in where their rocket machines are deposited, however, Webb’s depletion included a critical limitation, according to NASA: The spacecraft could not slow down. Because this requires conditioning, exposing your hypersensitive organs to heat. the sun.
Instead, the observatory can only increase its speed, so the observatory’s launch sequence is designed not to miss the side of the Ariane 5 missile that delivers a little less power than necessary, not a little more. The burning of MCC1a was an opportunity for the observatory to adjust its trajectory toward L2.
Also during the first phase of the observatory’s journey, President Joe Biden thanked the teams behind the telescope for their work on the project.
Biden wrote in a newspaper tweet Posted tonight. “Web is a shining example of the power of what we can achieve when we dream big. We always knew this was going to be a risky project, but with big risks come big rewards.”
With the launch of MCC1a complete, the observatory has successfully performed the only two actions that require a specific time. From now on, the deployment steps will be carried out flexibly and not at certain times.
However, the next milestone on JWST’s month-long journey will come about a day after launch, according to NASA timeline, when the spacecraft launches the coaxial antenna array, which contains the main communication antenna, to point at Earth.
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