JWST pulls thrusters for a critical maneuver to reach L2
[Updated Dec. 25, 9:24 p.m. EST]
The recently launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) fired its thrusters for a critical 65 minutes. burn to adjust its course as it heads into an operational orbit of approximately 1 million miles. From the earth.
JWST was launched at 7:20 am. EST on December 25 on board an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket, which delivered the observatory on a direct trajectory towards a solar orbit around the second point of Lagrange Sun-Earth (L2). Twelve and a half hours later, JWST fired its secondary combustion augmented propellants fueled with hydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide for 65 minutes. Mid-course correction Burn 1a (MCC1a) to refine its trajectory.
Along with the deployment of the telescope’s solar panel, which occurred within minutes of exiting the Ariane 5 upper stage observatory, the combustion of MCC1a is the only other critical event in a planned series of deployments and of 29-day operations.
Typically, launching is about 80% of the risk for a mission, but putting JWST into orbit only eliminated 20-30% of the risk, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, told reporters. , after launch. Always Coming: The release and deployment of a tennis court-sized five-layer sun visor and an 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter sun visor. primary mirror, among other systems.
“The remaining risks we will phase out,” Zurbuchen said.
MCC1a is the first of three course correction maneuvers planned to position JWST at L2, a gravitationally stable orbit that is aligned with Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
The telescope, built by Northrop Grumman, carries enough thruster for an expected 10.5-year mission.
Ariane 5 takes off with the long-awaited Webb telescope
CAP CANAVERAL — An Ariane 5 rocket from Arianespace took off from the Guyana Space Center in French Guiana on December 25 as part of a high-stakes mission to send the $ 11 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) into orbit operational of 1 million miles. From the earth.
The 166 ft. The large, double-decker Ariane 5 took off from the European Space Agency’s launch complex in South America at 7.20 a.m. EST (09.20 a.m. local time), piercing low clouds as it headed for the is over the Atlantic Ocean.
Perched atop the rocket was the Webb Telescope, the long-awaited successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, designed to see the faint infrared light emanating from the first stars and galaxies in the universe.
“Flown from a tropical rainforest on the edge of time itself, James Webb begins a journey to the birth of the universe,” said NASA launch commentator Rob Navias.
About 25 minutes. after launch, the upper stage of Ariane 5 completed a journey of 16 min. burn, setting the stage for Webb to separate from the launcher. Two minutes. later, the mission control team in Kourou, French Guiana, applauded as the telescope slowly pulled away, with a camera on the discarded top floor providing the last look at the telescope at an altitude of ‘about 864 mi. above Earth and traveling into deep space at a speed of 21,000 mph.
“It was a perfect race to orbit,” noted Navias.
Minutes later, JWST completed the first of about 50 critical deployments, deploying a 20-foot-long solar panel to provide electricity to the observatory. The next major activity will be a course correction maneuver to position the telescope toward the second Lagrange Earth-Sun point, a gravitationally stable perch about 1 million miles away. From the earth.