NASA's James Webb Space Telescope successfully launches into space

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,127   +154
Staff member
In brief: The James Webb Space Telescope has finally left Earth and is en route to the L2 Lagrange point nearly a million miles from home where it’ll set up shop and hopefully reward astronomers with a treasure trove of new discoveries over its 10-year mission duration.

The launch took place from Kourou, French Guiana, with the highly complex JWST hitching a ride to space via an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

The boosters ignited and liftoff occurred at 7:20 a.m. Eastern. Moments later, the control center received telemetry from the telescope and a little more than two minutes into launch, the two solid rocket boosters separated and fell into the ocean as planned. The fairing came off next, exposing the telescope as the journey continued.

After getting Webb up to speeds of around 16,000 miles per hour, the Ariane 5 main stage engine shut down and was jettisoned. The upper stage engine was then lit and burned for 16 minutes, bringing the scope up to around 22,000 miles per hour.

At the half-hour mark, Webb’s solar array was deployed and was confirmed to be functional. And with that, Webb is on its way.

NASA said the telescope is now in coast phase, and is correctly oriented with respect to the Sun. It’s altitude control system has been powered on and will be responsible for keeping the craft pointing in the right direction.

Over the next week, Webb’s massive sunshield will open, protecting the telescope from solar radiation and heat as it makes its way to L2.

There are still plenty of hurdles that must be overcome, but for now, astronomers and enthusiasts worldwide can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief as Webb is up and on its way. Interested parties can follow Webb’s journey over on NASA’s website.

Permalink to story.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,693   +6,625
To all those who may have worked what should have been a Holiday for you, thank you for the wonderful Christmas Gift to Science.

I, for one, am hoping the mission yields many more gifts and discoveries over its life. This is an awesome achievement for humanity and science. I cannot wait to see the images this telescope will produce over its life.

I will be equally excited to see what this telescope comes up with when it finally goes on line. https://www.eso.org/sci/facilities/eelt/
 

DrSuess

Posts: 197   +179
Finally, my coworker's girlfriend was one of the techs working on the mirrors for the James Web telescope. Its suppose to take a couple of months to unfold it self and its array. Hopefully it can unfold itself without issues, a NASA article said there about 300 single points of failure as it unfolds itself.
 

Irata

Posts: 2,102   +3,628
This is extremely exciting. Like the other posters, I hope everything goes well and I‘m really, really looking forward to the first images.

 

McMurdeR

Posts: 507   +644
If that thing works the images will be a priceless treasure for both science and humanity. I can't wait to see them. You've got to be in awe of the people involved, it would be a staggering achievement.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,693   +6,625
Finally, my coworker's girlfriend was one of the techs working on the mirrors for the James Web telescope. Its suppose to take a couple of months to unfold it self and its array. Hopefully it can unfold itself without issues, a NASA article said there about 300 single points of failure as it unfolds itself.
I'm willing to bet that the remaining points of possible failure are much less than before the launch.
 

DrSuess

Posts: 197   +179
I'm willing to bet that the remaining points of possible failure are much less than before the launch.
There were many more single points of failure but with the monitoring systems on the craft they are usually caught during Go NoGo checks prior to launch. Mature systems are pretty reliable and have a lot of data collected to catch help those potential failures prior to launch

The article stated that there were 300+ single points of failure during the 2 months process it will take for the telescope to completely unfold its array, and unfold a set of mirrors that were retracted to fit into the launch vehicle.

I tried to find the specific article I was looking for but I found at least 5 other articles that state the same things the 300+ single points of failures are after the craft if launched.

 
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captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
The article stated that there were 300+ POSSIBLE single points of failure during the 2 months process it will take for the telescope to completely unfold its array, and unfold a set of mirrors that were retracted to fit into the launch vehicle.
FIXED. Everybody has to wait and see.over the next two months.

And Yes, "possible" was implied, but not directly stated. In truth I think the article was a bit sloppily, or hurriedly written..There aren't enough statements written in the conditional sense

But yet, the title over the last paragraph reads, "And yet, it's likely to work".

EDIT
: To be more optimistic, there may be 300+ things that could wrong, nut when you lump some together, it's really not that many. Since identical operations are being repeated over and over. Have faith. (Or at least give it a shot).
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
Space launches are cool
The only earth bound activity I imagine that could give the kind of rush that the 1st stage booster does, is going to a top fuel dragster meet and standing next to the strip's fence. 20,000 HP\s worth of blown hemis launching at once would likely give you a pretty healthy case of the goosebumps. I love the smell of burning nitro-methane. I think it's better than the best French perfumes. (Yes, I have my "knuckle-dragger" moments, so what)?

Besides, you can get a whole lot closer to those dragsters, than you could to a heavy lift launch. Like at least a mile closer.

Way back in the day, during the first Saturn 5 launch, the standing joke was, "we don't know if this will go up, or Florida will go down".
 
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Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,208   +1,103
Awesome news, was very nervous about this going up successfully. Cannot wait for this to be fully operational as this will be a huge leap over Hubble's abilities.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
This is extremely exciting. Like the other posters, I hope everything goes well and I‘m really, really looking forward to the first images.
I, for one, am hoping the mission yields many more gifts and discoveries over its life. This is an awesome achievement for humanity and science. I cannot wait to see the images this telescope will produce over its life.
I have a bizarre, and quite sad story, about images from Hubble.

In Philly have have what are called, "convenience centers". Basically, they're places you can go to get rid of your trash and certain recyclable goods, which must, (allegedly), like electronics, which you're (supposedly), not permitted to put out with your regular trash, or recycling, Or, if you simply don't want to wait until the "sanitation engineers", come around to pick it up..

Anyway, I'm busy stuffing paper and cans into the back of the truck, when some guy backs up to the city truck with a van. Then, he started to empty the van, (which was almost full), into the recycling truck.

As it turns out, it was the contents of an entire library.So naturally, I said, "WTF are you doing"? He said, "oh, the kids don't read them anymore, and we need the space to put in more computers".

So now I'm reeling, wondering how Fahrenheit 451, would have gone, if the author had put recycling in, instead of simply burning books.

When I saw Hubble going into the trash, I asked, "can I have this"? his reply was, "yes, take as many as you want"...! So, I scarfed up the :Hubble, Mirror to the Universe, and three other "coffee table", type titles.

So, what do you guys think of this? Is it, of no concern, mildly tragic, a disaster, or a major, "WTF is this world coming to", moment?
 
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Irata

Posts: 2,102   +3,628
I have a bizarre, and quite sad story, about images from Hubble.

In Philly have have what are called, "convenience centers". Basically, they're places you can go to get rid of your trash and certain recyclable goods, which must, (allegedly), like electronics, which you're (supposedly), not permitted to put out with your regular trash, or recycling, Or, if you simply don't want to wait until the "sanitation engineers", come around to pick it up..

Anyway, I'm busy stuffing paper and cans into the back of the truck, when some guy backs up to the city truck with a van. Then, he started to empty the van, (which was almost full), into the recycling truck.

As it turns out, it was the contents of an entire library.So naturally, I said, "WTF are you doing"? He said, "oh, the kids don't read them anymore, and we need the space to put in more computers".

So now I'm reeling, wondering how Fahrenheit 451, would have gone, if the author had put recycling in, instead of simply burning books.

When I saw Hubble going into the trash, I asked, "can I have this"? his reply was, "yes, take as many as you want"...! So, I scarfed up the :Hubble, Mirror to the Universe, and three other "coffee table", type titles.

So, what do you guys think of this? Is it, of no concern, mildly tragic, a disaster, or a major, "WTF is this world coming to", moment?
That‘s actually extremely sad…
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
Bring us some alien porno!
Let me see if I've got this straight. (pun not intended). Basically, what you're hoping for, is that the Webb telescope will, "talk dirty to you"?

Besides, it would likely take years of scientific research, to bring us to the point of knowing "which part goes where", Not to mention what bio-engineered kitchen utensils where involved.
 
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VitalyT

Posts: 6,220   +6,751
Let me see if I've got this straight. (pun not intended). Basically, what you're hoping for, is that the Webb telescope will, "talk dirty to you"?

Besides, it would likely take years of scientific research, to bring us to the point of knowing "which part goes where", Not to mention what bio-engineered kitchen utensils where involved.
I think, whatever they hope to see out there, won't be worth a dime any time this century, while building and launching something like this next century will be worthy of a school-lab project, like dissecting a mouse. Billions well spent.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,693   +6,625
The technology they put into this telescope is straight out of a sci-fi show. Incredible stuff.
There were many more single points of failure but with the monitoring systems on the craft they are usually caught during Go NoGo checks prior to launch. Mature systems are pretty reliable and have a lot of data collected to catch help those potential failures prior to launch

The article stated that there were 300+ single points of failure during the 2 months process it will take for the telescope to completely unfold its array, and unfold a set of mirrors that were retracted to fit into the launch vehicle.

I tried to find the specific article I was looking for but I found at least 5 other articles that state the same things the 300+ single points of failures are after the craft if launched.

Well, this is like my third repost of this link, Apologies, but it is a great read about the "We Invented Everything" technology in JWST - https://www.hajim.rochester.edu/news/2021/2021-11-07-webb-telescope.html
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
Well, this is like my third repost of this link, Apologies, but it is a great read about the "We Invented Everything" technology in JWST - https://www.hajim.rochester.edu/news/2021/2021-11-07-webb-telescope.html
Keep your pants on. I haven't even quite finished the "Bees in the Garden" thingy yet.
I got sidetracked by "Pandora", a sci-fi ditty on the CW, Which network BTW has free streaming of all their shows. (y) (Y)

Call me a dirty old man if you must, but after seven decades, I'm still a sucker for a pretty face and a great a**, in black stretch pants..

I will say the slow motion work was truly top notch in the bees thingy.

On a side note, my local PBS OTA channel is WHYY in Wilmington DE. I've never been able to get it, since TV went digital. (At least not on the 1st floor. Upstairs it's fine). I would swear though, the only time I come close to receiving WHYY, is during their fund raising drives. Now, they have 7 channels, and fund raising never stops. Instead, they move it from channel to channel. I'm concluding that they no longer bother to jack up the transmitter power during fund raising "pledge drives" anymore.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,693   +6,625
Keep your pants on. I haven't even quite finished the "Bees in the Garden" thingy yet.
I got sidetracked by "Pandora", a sci-fi ditty on the CW, Which network BTW has free streaming of all their shows. (y) (Y)
Well, it was more aimed at those who had not seen it yet. I know you saw it, so when you get to it, enjoy!
Call me a dirty old man if you must, but after seven decades, I'm still a sucker for a pretty face and a great a**, in black stretch pants..
Being only about 10-years younger than you are, no need to explain. :D
I will say the slow motion work was truly top notch in the bees thingy.
The guy who did the film really seemed to know his stuff - speaking as a dabbler. :eek:I am glad you enjoyed it, I had a hunch you might.
On a side note, my local PBS OTA channel is WHYY in Wilmington DE. I've never been able to get it, since TV went digital. (At least not on the 1st floor. Upstairs it's fine). I would swear though, the only time I come close to receiving WHYY, is during their fund raising drives. Now, they have 7 channels, and fund raising never stops. Instead, they move it from channel to channel. I'm concluding that they no longer bother to jack up the transmitter power during fund raising "pledge drives" anymore.
The likely reason you cannot get WHYY (hmmm, the home of "Fresh Air") on your first floor, but can on your second, is likely because when they designed ATSC 1.0, they kept the same modulation schema as analog TV. ATSC 1.0 is highly sensitive to reflected signals, and any reflected signal (multipath interference) will cancel out reception on any channel. Its the same problem that used to cause ghosting when an airplane flew overhead with Analog TV. There are areas all over the country that are now DTV-OTA "Dead Zones" because of this problem. Some people, even though they live near transmitters, cannot get reception at all. I'm in a valley relative to our transmitters, and most of the signal that I get is reflected, but fortunately, after extreme measures (antenna in the attic, an extremely low-noise RF amp), we get reception of local OTA quite well except for times when the weather is bad.

You probably won't want to hear this, but a new Digital TV standard is slowly rolling out and it is also not backward compatible with ATSC 1.0 - its ATSC 3.0 the biggest improvement, IMO, is that they finally decided to use a modern modulation schema which is far less sensitive to multipath interference if it is sensitive to it at all. And it has been demonstrated to work even on a laptop TV receiver in a tunnel, which may, in my little mind, be indicative of far, far, far better reception, when it is finally widely available, for the average OTA TV viewer provided you have an ATSC 3.0 converter or dedicated ATSC 3.0 tuner. Philly is not on air yet, but it looks like it might be by the end of the summer, 2022.

I know, I know, its way off topic.