The telescope, hailed as the next decade’s greatest space science observatory, is currently set to launch on December 24 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
NASA said in an online post that teams are working on “a communication issue between the observatory and the launch vehicle system.” On Friday, the agency will deliver an update on the telescope.
The telescope, which was supposed to deploy in 2018, has been delayed for years due to a variety of causes including the pandemic and technological difficulties.
The launch date was recently pushed back from December 18 to December 22 due to an event that happened during launch preparations in November.
“A abrupt, unanticipated release of a clamp band generated a tremor throughout the observatory,” according to the agency, as workers prepared to link the telescope to the upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket that would be utilised during the launch.
Teams found that the telescope was not harmed after testing and inspecting the observatory, and fueling was completed on December 3. On December 11, the telescope was installed atop the Ariane 5 rocket.
What will the telescope accomplish?
Webb, the world’s most powerful sophisticated space observatory, will answer questions about our solar system, investigate exoplanets in new ways, and peer deeper into the universe than we’ve ever been able to. Webb will gaze into the atmospheres of exoplanets, some of which may be habitable, in the hopes of finding clues to the ongoing quest for life beyond Earth.
The telescope has a mirror that can reach 21 feet and 4 inches (6.5 metres) into space, giving it a vast length that will allow it to catch more light from the objects it examines once in orbit. The more light collected by the mirror, the more details the telescope can see.
The mirror is made up of 18 hexagonal gold-coated parts, each measuring 4.3 feet (1.32 metres).
According to NASA, it’s the largest mirror the organisation has ever manufactured, but its size posed a unique difficulty. The mirror was too big to fit inside a rocket. As a result, they created the telescope as a set of movable elements that can fold up like origami and fit into a 16-foot (5-meter) launch space.
According to NASA, Webb will play the role of an infrared detective, detecting light that is invisible to us and revealing otherwise unseen regions of space.
The telescope’s design was first conceived in a workshop in 1989 as a successor to Hubble, and building on Webb began in 2004. Thousands of scientists, technicians, and engineers from 14 nations have worked on the telescope since then, putting in 40 million hours.
Now, Webb could help scientists better comprehend the universe’s origins and begin to address key issues regarding our origins, including as where we come from and whether we’re alone in the universe.
The telescope will travel for roughly a month after launch until it reaches a distance of around 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometres) from Earth. Webb will unfold its mirrors and a protective sunshield over the course of 29 days. Thousands of parts are involved in this operation, all of which must function flawlessly and in the correct order.
Fortunately, if there are any problems, each step may be controlled from the ground.
After that, it will go through a six-month period of establishing up shop in a new location, which will include cooling down the equipment, alignment, and calibration. All of the instruments will be checked to ensure that they are in working order.
Then, in 2022, it will begin collecting data and producing its first images. Thousands of scientists have been waiting for Webb’s discovery for years.