Webb Space Telescope reached its destination: 1.5 million km from Earth.
The James Webb Space Telescope reached its final orbit, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, from where it will be able to observe the first galaxies in the Universe, NASA confirmed on Monday. Around 7:00 p.m. GMT, it activated its thrusters to reach Lagrange point 2, ideal for observing the cosmos. “Welcome home, Webb !” US space agency chief Bill Nelson exclaimed in a statement.
“We have taken another step forward in uncovering the mysteries of the Universe. And I look forward to seeing the first new images of the Universe from the Webb telescope this summer!” he added. In this region of space, it will remain aligned with Earth as it moves around the Sun, allowing Webb ‘s sunshield to protect heat- and light-sensitive equipment.
This is the third time the telescope has fired its thrusters since it was launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket on December 25. The rocket’s large thrust was deliberately reduced to prevent the instrument from overshooting its target and to ensure that it reached it in stages.
Costing NASA some $10 billion, the James Webb Telescope is one of the most expensive pieces of scientific equipment ever built, comparable to its predecessor Hubble or the CERN particle accelerator.
With information from AFP