Space Telescope: The next generation.
The James Webb Space Telescope is a mission planed by NASA and at the moment set to launch some time in 2021. The launch date had been postponed many times. The construction of the telescope started in 1996 and it was first planned to be launched in 2007 but several budget overuns made the project come to a halt in 2011. The telescope was redesigned and new fundings were allocated. The telescope are now ready for launch.
The construkrtion of the telescope was finished in 2016 and have been through extensive and thorough testing ever since. Both the mirror which consists of 18 separate hexagonal mirrors and the 5 protection sails is very complex mechanical constructions which easily could fail. The telescope passed the final test in 2019 which was an over 100 days stay in a vacuum chamber were it was exposed to temperatures from a -148 to +102 degrees Celsius. The sails are made of a material called Kapton (polyimide film) which was deloped in the sixties and are know to be very tollerant to temperature changes.
This is next generation of space telescope and is seen as the replacement for the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes of which Hubble still works perfectly and still surprises us with astonishing pictures of far and distant objects. Scientists expects that they will be able to view 13,5 billion light years, which basically means that we can have look at the origin of time. I can’t wait 🙂