KATHMANDU, MARCH 03
2021 has been a great year for scientific endeavours, with beginnings marked with launches of Mars probes from UAE, China (who are the first to do so for their countries) and USA. The next exciting launch is NASA's James Webb Space Telescope which completed its final functional tests at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California on March 1.
The James Webb Space Telescope, an international programme led by NASA with its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency, is said to be the world's premier space science observatory after it launches in 2021.
Webb will be able to look at distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe, and our place in it.
It will be the largest, most powerful telescope, able to see near and distant views of cosmos without obstruction. It will help explorers by providing insights into our universe's past: from the first light after the Big Bang, to the formation and evolution of galaxies, to our own and other planetary systems.
"NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have been transformative, opening the door to the infrared universe, beyond the realm of red visible light. Webb is a natural evolution of those missions, combining Spitzer's view of the infrared universe with Hubble's sensitivity and resolution," said Daniel Weisz of the University of California, Berkeley.
At present, NASA shared, the testing teams have successfully completed two important milestones that confirmed the observatory's internal electronics are all functioning as intended, and that the spacecraft and its four scientific instruments can send and receive data properly through the same network they will use in space.
Two milestones, complete!
The #NASAWebb has concluded testing to confirm that the telescope's internal electronics are functioning as intended, and that its 4 instruments can send & receive data through the same network it will use in space: https://t.co/5SOiYNLRhR pic.twitter.com/EQKzzGDino- NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) March 1, 2021
NASA has been preparing to make its launch in October. With this progress, it is getting more closer to the launch process and assures that Webb telescope will be able to withstand the launch environment.
"It's been amazing to witness the level of expertise, commitment and collaboration across the team during this important milestone," said Jennifer Love-Pruitt, Northrop Grumman's electrical vehicle engineering lead on the Webb observatory. "It's definitely a proud moment because we demonstrated Webb's electrical readiness. The successful completion of this test also means we are ready to move forward toward launch and on-orbit operations."
After the completion of Webb's final comprehensive systems evaluation, technicians have begun preparations for another important test -- ground segment test – which was designed to simulate the complete process from planning science observations to posting the scientific data to the community archive.
Once the telescope is in space, commands will flow from Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore to one of the three Deep Space Network locations in Goldstone, California, Madrid, Spain, or Canberra, Australia. Thereafter, the signals will be sent to the orbiting observatory nearly one million miles away.
Moreover, NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite network – the Space Network in New Mexico, the European Space Agency's Malindi station in Kenya, and European Space Operations Centre in Germany – will help keep a constant line of communication open with Webb.
The team is now preparing for the next series of technical milestones, which will include the final folding of the sunshield and deployment of the mirror, prior to shipment to the launch site.