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Webb Telescope Launch

deluxestogie

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Will it fly?

Webb_atFactory.JPG


Launch is scheduled for the morning of 24 DEC 2021. All of the eggs that are in this one basket amount to 20 years' worth of eggs, costing about $10,000,000,000.00. And then there are those 108 individual stepper motors to control all those independently moveable, gold-plated hexagonal mirrors. And the secondary mirror has to deploy on that folded boom. And the sail-like layers to insulate the telescope from the sun. Oh, and the fact that once it reaches a LaGrange Point (its permanent station) high above Earth, it can never be repaired.

Will the bubbly be Champaign or Alka-Seltzer?

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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Given the current ability to control swarms of objects (like swarms of lighted drones that spell out, "Happy 20th Anniversary", in the night sky), I have to wonder if a swarm of independently launched mirror/solar-shield objects, all focused at a single, secondary mirror/detector assembly might not only cost less, and be far less risky, but also be capable of dramatically greater magnifying power. Webb is built on 30 year old ideas. [We landed on the moon using individual transistors epoxied onto an aluminum circuit board.]

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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Delay: The launch window is now set for Christmas morning (25 DEC 2021) starting at 7:20 a.m. EST (12:20 UTC).

I think this change from Christmas Eve was to avoid possible reindeer traffic.

WebbOrbit.JPG

Planetary.org

It's destination is 1 million miles from earth, and will enter a slow, tiny orbit around the L2 LaGrange Point, which always stays within a total solar eclipse (caused by earth), as both the Webb telescope and Earth orbit the Sun.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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NASA Live
NEXT LIVE EVENTS

(All times Eastern U.S. time, which equates to UTC-5.)

Dec. 25, Saturday
  • 3 a.m. – Update on the fueling of the Ariane 5 rocket for the James Webb Space Telescope launch from Kourou, French Guiana
  • 3:15 a.m. – James Webb Space Telescope highlights and launch pad views from Kourou, French Guiana
  • 6 a.m. – Coverage of the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope on an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana (launch scheduled at 7:20 a.m. EST) Goddard Space Flight Center/Space Telescope Science Institute/Kourou, French Guiana
  • 9 a.m. – Webb Space Telescope post-launch briefing from Kourou, French Guiana

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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Merry Christmas. You made a good choice to sleep in, instead of watching the launch live. Nearly no live video. Lots of "live" animations. Not even a good screen capture. "Dix, neuf, huit, sept, six, cinq, quatre, trois, deux, un!" On the plus side, the flight control director was named Jean-Luc, and was bald.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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See those gold thingies on the sides? They have to be deployed as well.
Every bit of this deployment has to go exactly as planned, for the telescope to function.
Watch the youtube video linked above. Also, it's only about 60% of the way to its destination.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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And here's one worth waiting for:

Webb_radiator.gif


The deployment of the radiator. Tomorrow (7 JAN 2022) and the next day, the two golden sides of the primary mirror will be deployed. NASA expects a live broadcast of the completion of the primary mirror deployment on 8 JAN 2022. Then, they will need to test each of the 108 stepper motors that control each golden hexagon.

Bob
 
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deluxestogie

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The origami telescope is now fully unfolded. It still needs another couple of weeks to reach its destination point (LaGrange point L2). Then another ~5½ months will be required to "commission" each of its functional components. After that—we'll see our first images. Maybe early summer.

Unlike images from Hubble, these will be captured in infra-red: night-vision goggles. So any color that appears in the images will be fake.

Bob
 

GreenDragon

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L1, L2, and L3 are unstable Lagrange Points and require spacecraft to periodically boost their orbit to stay in balance. This is what will limit the lifecycle of the telescope; it will eventually run out of fuel and drift away from the L2 point. However, the launch rocket was more efficient than expected, and thus required less fuel for the telescope to reach orbit. This should extend the working life of the telescope beyond the original planned 10 years.

L2.jpg
 
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