The Webb Space Telescope from NASA has arrived in French Guiana at Europe’s Spaceport.
After a 16-day cruise at sea, the successfully landed at French Guiana on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Webb traveled 5,800 miles from California to Port de Pariacabo on the Kourou River in French Guiana, on the northeastern coast of South America, via the Panama Canal.
The world’s largest and most complicated space science observatory will now be transported to its launch site, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, where it will undergo two months of operational preparations before its December 18 launch on an Ariane 5 rocket.
Once operational, Webb will provide information on all epochs of cosmic history, from the Big Bang to the present day, and will aid in the search for indicators of possible habitability among the thousands of exoplanets identified in recent years. NASA is leading the effort, which is being carried out in coordination with European and Canadian space organizations.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson remarked, “The James Webb Space Telescope is a gigantic achievement, built to revolutionize our vision of the cosmos and deliver amazing science.” “With the power to show humanity the greatest reaches of space that we have ever seen, Webb will peer back over 13 billion years to the light produced soon after the big bang.” Thanks to the abilities and expertise of our incredible team, we are now extremely near to solving the secrets of the universe.” The Webb team spent over a month folding, stowing, and prepping the giant observatory for shipment to South America after finishing testing in August at Northrop Grumman’s Space Park in Redondo Beach, California. Webb was transported in a specially constructed, climate-controlled container.
Webb walked 26 miles through the streets of Los Angeles with a police escort late Friday evening, September 24, from Northrop Grumman’s factory in Redondo Beach to Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. The MN Colibri, a French-flagged cargo ship that has previously brought satellites and spaceflight hardware to Kourou, was loaded with it there. On its way to Kourou, the MN Colibri left Seal Beach on Sunday, September 26 and entered the Panama Canal on Tuesday, October 5.
Webb’s long, earthbound journeys over the years came to an end with the ocean excursion. Beginning in 2013, the telescope was built at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. It was delivered to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in 2017 for cryogenic testing at the historic “Chamber A” test facility, which was famed for its usage during the…