James Webb Space Telescope Mission – Key Facts

NASA is all set to launch its much-awaited next-generation space telescope mission named “James Webb Space Telescope Mission”, as and when weather is clear. It will be launched on Ariane 5 rocket, operated by Arianespace.

About James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or Webb)

JWST has been in the works for decades. It has been jointly developed by NASA, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). As NASA’s flagship astrophysics mission, it is planned to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope. It will be launched around December 25, 2021 during Ariane flight VA256. The primary mirror of JWST that is, Optical Telescope Element, comprises of 18 hexagonal mirror segments. These segments are made up of gold-plated beryllium.

Purpose of the Mission

JWST mission will provide improved infrared resolution and sensitivity as compared to Hubble Space Telescope. It will enable a broad range of investigations in the fields of astronomy & cosmology, including observation of some of most distant events and objects in space, like formation of the first galaxies and detailed atmospheric characteristics of potentially habitable exoplanets.

Ariane flight VA256

It is the 256th Ariane mission. This mission will launch the James Webb Space Telescope into space. Ariane 5 is a heavy lift two-stage rocket comprising of two solid fuel boosters. The rocket will be used in its ECA variant, offering the highest payload mass capacity. Total launch mass of the vehicle is around 770,000 kg. Its only payload is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). This launch is one of the contributions of European Space Agency.

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