Friday, November 30, 2012

James Webb Space Telescope - The Future Hubble

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a large, infrared-optimized space-based telescope. The project is working to a 2018 launch date. The James Webb Space Telescope was named after the NASA Administrator who crafted the Apollo program, and who was a staunch supporter of space science. Webb will find the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Webb will peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own Solar System. Webb's instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. 
The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.
Webb is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is managing the development effort. The main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute will operate Webb after launch.
Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, micro-shutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryo-cooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K.
Webb was formerly known as the "Next Generation Space Telescope" (NGST); it was renamed in Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb. Webb will have a large mirror, 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) in diameter and a sunshield the size of a tennis court. Both the mirror and sunshade won't fit onto a rocket fully open, so both will fold up and open once Webb is in outer space. Webb will reside in an orbit about 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from the Earth.

There will be four science instruments on Webb: the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), the Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRSpec), the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), and the Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS). Webb's instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.

Webb has four main science themes: The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Re-ionization, The Assembly of Galaxies, The Birth of Stars and Proto-planetary Systems, and Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.
Below are images of other instruments using to build the JWST:

About the Launching of the Telescope:
The Webb will be launched from Arianespace's ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana.

The Launch Segment has 3 primary components:
  1. Launch Vehicle: an Ariane 5 ECA with the cryogenic upper stage. It will be provided in the single launch configuration, with a long payload fairing providing a maximum 4.57 meter static diameter and useable length of 16.19 meters.
  2. Payload Adapter, comprising the Cone 3936 plus ACU 2624 lower cylinder and clamp-band, which provides the separating mechanical and electrical interface between the Webb Observatory and the Launch Vehicle.
  3. Launch campaign preparation and launch campaign. The European Space Agency (ESA) will provide the launch vehicle and the payload adapter to the Webb Mission. The launch campaign preparation and launch campaign is the mutual responsibility of NASA, ESA, NGST, and Arianespace.

All the credits for images and descriptions goes to JWST.NASA. Visit the web portal to know more about JWST.


Read other related posts:
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NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers Earth-Like-Planet

Cassini Equinox Mission and the Saturn
Largest Earth-Based Telescopes in the World

Solar Electric Scooter - Future Technology
Space-Based Telescopes in the World
Space Stations in the Earth Orbit
Little about the LHC - Large Hadron Collider

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