The $9.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope has passed a key launch test. This means that the telescope can be sent into orbit as early as the end of 2021. This was announced by representatives of the European Space Agency (ESA).
“This is an important milestone in collaboration with Arianespace. He confirms that all devices, including the Ariane 5 rocket, are ready for use and the flight plan is operational. It is also the final confirmation that all aspects of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft are fully compatible, ”the space agencies said in a joint statement.
Although Webb is primarily a NASA project, the mission also involves the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The Canadian side is providing the telescope pointing sensor and one of its scientific instruments. ESA is also providing scientific equipment for the mission and launching services by purchasing the heavy Ariane 5 launch vehicle to bring the telescope into orbit.
The launch will be carried out from the European cosmodrome at Kourou. Mission teams are working on preparations for a post-31st launch. “The exact launch date after October 31 depends on the launch schedule of the cosmodrome and will be finally determined closer to the launch readiness date,” ESA said in a statement.