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James Webb Space Telescope Arrives at Final Destination: One Million Miles from Earth

James Webb Space Telescope Arrives at Final Destination: One Million Miles from Earth

Meanwhile, Chinese satellite was in near miss with debris from Russia’s failed test rocket launch.

The last time we checked on the James Webb Space Telescope, the instrument slated to take the place of the Hubble Telescope, it had deployed its complex array of solar panels after having launched on Christmas day.

It has now arrived at its final destination, after traveling nearly one million miles from Earth.

The telescope arrived at a location beyond the moon after a final, roughly five-minute firing of the spacecraft’s main thruster, sweeping itself into a small pocket of stability where the gravitational forces of the sun and Earth commingle. From this outpost, called the second Lagrange Point or L2, the Webb telescope will be dragged around the sun alongside Earth for years to keep a steady eye on outer space without spending much fuel to maintain its position.

“We’re one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe,” Bill Nelson, the administrator of NASA, said in a statement. “And I can’t wait to see Webb’s first new views of the universe this summer!”

The James Webb Space Telescope, named after a former NASA administrator who oversaw the formative years of the Apollo program, is seven times more sensitive than the nearly 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope and three times its size. A follow-up to Hubble, the Webb is designed to see further into the past than its celebrated predecessor in order to study the first stars and galaxies that twinkled alive in the dawn of time, 13.7 billion years ago.

The telescope’s final destination is referred to as Lagrange Point 2 (L2). Lagrangian points are locations in space where gravitational forces and the orbital motion of a body balance each other. This position essentially allows the spacecraft to ‘hover’ in space. L2 is the second such point away from earth and is located about 1 million miles directly ‘behind’ the Earth as viewed from the Sun.

At this point, the instrument will begin a series of activities geared to allow it to begin scientific research.

Once orbiting L2, Webb will begin cooling down and turning on its four scientific instruments. It will take weeks still for this cooling to be completed and for Webb to reach a stable temperature. Following this cooldown, Webb will spend about five months perfectly aligning and calibrating its optics and scientific instruments.

Webb will spend its lifetime at L2 . It was previously thought that the observatory might operate for just 5 to 10 years in space because of its limited propellant supply and the fact that it was not intended to be refueled. However, after launch, the mission team now expects that Webb will have “significantly more than a 10-year science lifetime,” thanks to the job the Ariane 5 did on launch day, NASA officials wrote in a post-launch statement.

Meanwhile, a Chinese satellite just experienced a near-miss with a piece of debris created by Russia’s destructive anti-satellite test conducted in November.

The Space Debris Monitoring and Application Center of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) issued a warning Tuesday of an extremely dangerous encounter between the Tsinghua Science satellite (NORAD ID: 46026) and one (49863) of more than a thousand trackable pieces of debris from the Nov. 15 ASAT test.

The warning was shared by official Chinese language industry media China Space News and reported by Chinese media. The close encounter event is backed up data from U.S. space tracking.

The notice stated that the closest approach was to a distance of 14.5 meters, but there is likely much more uncertainty regarding the distances involved,satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told SpaceNews via email.

“While publicly available U.S. tracking data confirm that debris object 49863 did pass very close to the Tsinghua Science Satellite on January 18, the claim that the distance was only 14.5 meters is meaningless since they don’t quote any error bar, or the level of uncertainty,” McDowell stated.

“It is very unlikely China’s tracking can determine this distance to an accuracy of better than 100 meters or more, so “within a few hundred meters” is probably all they can reliably say.”

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Comments

Sounds wonderful.

I hope this space telescope will outlive me. 😎

Upcoming statements from Biden:

1) I remember when I instructed NASA to launch this

2) this telescope will help us get a really good look at our neighbors on the moon

3) I wish we would have put Hunter’s laptop onboard

Finally! Something to be proud of!

    What’s really funny: if you notice, all the spokespeople for NASA on this project are ALL women. But in ALL the photos of the telesecope being built, there is NOT ONE WOMAN workong on it.

    The original plan for the JWT was in 1996 at a cost of $500 million.

    In 2009, the JWT was no where close to being completed much less launched in the projected date of 2009 even though additional funding had be given. The cost to that point in time was $4.963 billion.

    In 2011, NASA announced a new launch date of 2018.

    An additional dollars were needed to make that happen. Obviously, it did not.

    That NASA asked for a total baseline funding of $8 billion, which was a 95% cost overrun of the funding.

    In 2017, NASA announced that the projected launch date of 2018 would not be met.

    NASA came back and needed an additional $500 million and proposed a launch somewhere in 2021.

    Total cost of the original $500 million dollar James Webb Telescope is over $10 billion dollars. That amount does not include the monitoring of the telescope over it’s lifetime.

    While it may be said that the JWT is a tremendous scientific accomplishment (assuming it works the way it is supposed to as we all remember the problems with Hubble that needed “eye surgery,) if anything, the JWT shows that the government and contractors cannot stick to a budget. It is the taxpayer – not the government workers or contractors – who pay that price.

    The JWT is the new poster child for government lack of fiscal accountability.

I’ve always said that proof of aliens is going to come when we get sufficiently high-resolution images of other planets to be able to identify non-natural structures.

That being said, this project cost an utterly INSANE amount of money from the diversity hires at NASA, with over $10 billion already spent (that they admit).

    Doc-Wahala in reply to Olinser. | January 25, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Won’t be seeing those non-natural structures. They will be covered up by the rising tides from their own planets climate crisis.

    The only alien life is in the southern US border. I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed by the Hollywood b.s. hope of aliens thriving in space.

    However, the scientific breakthroughs from this thing will be beyond our wildest dreams.

The telescope’s final destination is referred to as Lagrange Point 2 (L2). Lagrangian points are locations in space where gravitational forces and the orbital motion of a body balance each other. This position essentially allows the spacecraft to ‘hover’ in space. L2 is the second such point away from earth and is located about 1 million miles directly ‘behind’ the Earth as viewed from the Sun.

HOME ON LAGRANGE (THE L5 SONG)
by Bill Higgins and Barry Gehm

Oh, give me a locus
Where the gravitons focus
Where the three-body problem is solved
Where the microwaves play down at three degrees K
And the cold virus never evolved

Home, home on Lagrange
Where the space debris always collects (it collects)
We possess, so it seems,
Two of man’s greatest dreams:
Solar power and zero-gee sex! (gee, sex!)

We eat algae pie, our vacuum is high
Our ball bearings are perfectly round
Our horizons are curved, our warheads are MIRVed
And a kilogram weighs half a pound

Home, home on Lagrange
Where the space debris always collects
We possess, so it seems,
Two of man’s greatest dreams:
Solar power and zero-gee sex!

You don’t need no oil, nor a tokamak coil
Solar stations provide Earth with juice
Power beams are sublime, so nobody will mind
If we cook the occasional goose

(Interlude, sung to the tune of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”)
All the cattle are standing like statues
All the cattle are standing like statues
They smell of roast beef every time I ride by
And the hawks and the falcons are dropping like flies…

I’ve been feeling quite blue since the crystals I grew
Became too big to fit through the door
But from slices I’ve sold, Hewlett-Packard, I’m told,
Made a chip that was seven-foot-four

Home, home on Lagrange
Where the space debris always collects
We possess, so it seems,
Two of man’s greatest dreams:
Solar power and zero-gee sex!

When we run out of space for our burgeoning race
No more Lebensraum left for the Mensch
When we’re ready to start, we can take Mars apart
If we just find a big enough wrench

Home, home on Lagrange
Where the space debris always collects
We possess, so it seems,
Two of man’s greatest dreams:
Solar power and zero-gee sex!

I’m sick of this place, it’s just McDonald’s in space
And living up here is a bore
Tell the shiggies don’t cry, they can kiss me goodbye
Cause I’m moving next week to L-four!

Home, home on Lagrange
Where the space debris always collects
We possess, so it seems,
Two of man’s greatest dreams:
Solar power and zero-gee sex!

I am still wondering what the point is sending something to a point that only takes light 5 seconds to travel 🤣🤔🤷‍♂️

Bullshit. The earth is flat.