The Journey to Space of the James Webb Space Telescope [Video].
The telescope will be the largest and most powerful ever launched into orbit.
Webb will be sent into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Webb is the next big space research observatory, with the goal of answering important questions about the Universe and making ground-breaking discoveries in astronomy. Webb will look further back in time, from the genesis of the earliest galaxies in the early Universe through the formation of stars and planets.
Webb will go through a complex unfolding sequence during its first month in space, on its journey to the second Langrange point (L2). Unfolding Webb’s sunshield – a five-layer, diamond-shaped structure the size of a tennis court – and the renowned 6.5-meter wide mirror, which is made up of a honeycomb-like pattern of 18 hexagonal, gold-coated mirror parts – are key milestones in this sequence.
ESA was in charge of developing and qualifying Ariane 5 adaptations for the Webb mission, as well as procuring the launch service, in collaboration with partners. ESA contributes to two of the four research instruments (NIRSpec and MIRI) and offers staff to support mission operations in addition to providing launch services.
Webb is a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency, and others (CSA).