The $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) of NASA has recently left the thermal vacuum chamber where it has spent over three months being placed through its paces in a number of hardcore cryogenic tests. Scientists wanted to ensure that the instruments and optical elements of the telescope are able to function properly in the cold, airless environment of outer space, and while NASA examines the results, engineers are occupied with putting JWST back together, as part of the agency’s preparation for the telescope’s launch in spring 2019.
JWST will be brought to the skies from a European spaceport located in French Guiana, and it will journey to the sun-Earth Lagrange point 2, which is located around 930,000 miles from Earth. Like the telescope’s predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST will operate in infrared waves to peer into the oldest, deepest parts of the universe. The telescope’s launch date has already been postponed twice because of integration issues. However, JWST is the most powerful telescope of its kind with the possibility to unlock the secrets of life as we know it. It is no surprise that NASA is taking the time to ensure that everything is ready.