NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has finally entered its final operational orbit in space, where it will continue a permanent distance of approximately 1 million miles from our planet and enjoy the best view of oldest galaxies and stars in the observable universe., according to a blog post on the official NASA website.
And soon, the real fun will begin.
James Webb Space Telescope made it all way to L2
Around 2 p.m. EST Monday, the Webb Telescope burned the thruster for nearly 5 minutes (297 seconds, to be exact), bringing it to its final post-launch trajectory. This marked the spacecraft’s insertion into its final orbit around the second Lagrange point (L2) between the sun & Earth, where it can orbit without additional thrusters, held by gravity, nearly 1 million miles from us. That final halfway burn only increased the spacecraft’s speed by about 3.6 mph, which is roughly equivalent to walking speed, but that extra nudge was all Webb needed to successfully enter into its “halo” orbit around point L2.
“Webb, welcome home!” Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator at the event, said in the blog post. “Congratulations to the team for all their hard work to ensure Webb’s safe arrival at L2 today. We are one step closer to unlocking the mysteries of the universe.” And I can’t wait to see the Webb first new views of the universe this summer! Webb was launched on 25 dec,2021 and journey was one of the greatest adventures a spacecraft has ever taken. The craft was too big to fly in final configuration, which forced it to launch in a folded configuration.
Webb completes its final, insertion into L2
Once it reached the great black abyssal depths, it began to unfold, transforming into a cosmic choreography never before attempted. But the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) did it without a hitch, reaching every deployment milestone on January 8 & completing its full configuration.
It sounds like magic, but it was raw, genuine science & engineering. And the humans behind-it were all nervous with each deployment, because every step had to go perfectly for the space telescope to be successfully installed in space. For example, if it failed to slow down earlier today, the spacecraft may have entered the wrong orbit, or missed L2 altogether, drifted off into space, and eventually, oblivion.
That didn’t happen, leaving the world with an unprecedented & incredibly advanced astronomical platform in the best places near Earth to view the universe. “Over the past month, JWST has been a tremendous success and is a tribute to all the people who have spent many years, if not decades, ensuring mission success,” said Bill Ochs, Project Manager of NASA for Webb, at the Goddard Space Flight. Center, in the blog post.