Timelapse video of James Webb Space Telescope’s journey

It travelled from California on board the MN Colibri, via the Panama Canal, to Pariacabo harbour in French Guiana and then to Kourou and the ESA Spaceport (aka CSG, Centre Spatial Guyanais).

The JWST is the largest and most powerful telescope yet launched into space. An international collaboration – also involving NASA and the Canadian Space Agency – ESA provided the telescope’s launch service using the Ariane 5. It also provided the spectrograph NIRSpec and 50% of the mid-infrared instrument MIRI, in collaboration with the University of Arizona.

Check out the video here, it’s well worth three minutes of your time:

Why the location at Kourou? It lies at latitude 5°3′, 500 km north of the equator, making it ideally placed for launches into geostationary transfer orbit, explains ESA, as few changes have to be made to a satellite’s trajectory.

My only other question is how tall is that final assembly building?!


Yesterday, incidentally, the Space Telescope reached its final destination, a “halo” orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point.

The ESA wrote:

At 20:00 CET the James Webb Space Telescope fired its onboard thrusters for nearly five minutes (297 seconds) to complete the final post launch course correction to Webb’s trajectory. This mid-course correction burn inserted Webb toward its final orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, or L2, nearly 1.5 million kilometres away from Earth.

Apparently, Webb’s orbit will allow it a wide view of the cosmos at any given moment. And also the chance for its telescope optics and scientific instruments to get cold enough to function optimally.

You can read more on the ESA website.

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