The James Webb Space Telescope will remain in orbit for about 10 years, NASA said. In addition, it was announced that the journey would take six years.
The James Webb Space Telescopewill remain in orbit for more than 10 years thanks to a fuel-efficient launch on Christmas Day, according to NASA. The telescope was transported by Arianespace Ariane 5. Despite two short-track mid-road fixes, its launch used less propellant than initially expected.
The U.S. space agency said Wednesday that it would allow science operations in orbit significantly more than the $10 billion observatory’s 10-year science life. The first mid-road fix was a small 65-minute fuel after launch, which increased the speed of the telescope by 45 miles per hour. It added 6.3 miles, a smaller addition on December 27.
James Webb Space Telescope on a million-mile journey
Additional support allowed JWST’ssolar array to open one and a half minutes after separation from Ariane 5and 29 minutes after launch. The array is encoded to be automatically deployed when the observatory reaches a certain altitude or 33 minutes after launch, whichever comes first.
Additional fuel is being used for what NASAhas described as station-holding manoeuvres. These are known as small propulsion bursts to adjust Webb’sorbit when it reaches its target on the far side of the Earth in an area known as the second Lagrance point, or L2. This is expected to take a million miles and about six months.
When the telescope gets there, it begins sending back unfiltered images of the galaxy’s most distant and oldest access points, about 13.7 billion light-years away. This was recorded as a quantum leap forward from the Hubble telescope, which was launched by the Discovery space shuttle in 1990.