NASA's $10 Billion Webb Telescope Begins Million Mile Journey

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Dec 25, 2021 - 03:40 PM

Update (1040ET): The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched into space at 0720 ET without a hitch from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana. 

About 15 minutes into the flight, the JWST separated from the main stage of the Ariane 5 rocket, where it was preparing for its million-mile journey to the Earth-sun Lagrange Point 2 (L2).

Shortly after arriving into orbit, JWST deployed its solar array to begin its 29-day journey to L2. 

Webb is the successor to Hubble Space Telescope, which will use its high-tech sensors to look more than 13 billion years into the past. 

Once JWST arrives at L2, the scientific community may never look at the universe the same. 

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Astronomers are getting the best Christmas gift in a very long time – the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is headed to the launchpad on Christmas morning, set to be the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.

"With JWST and its rocket securely on the pad, the team will run electrical diagnostics to ensure all lights are green for launch," according to NASA. "Teams will power on the observatory while at the launch pad to run one final aliveness test to ensure all systems have power and are working before liftoff."

Santa and his reindeer will be headed to the North Pole when the Ariane 5 rocket launches the JWST between 0720 ET to 0750 ET from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana. 

JWST will be catapulted to a gravitationally stable spot of about 930,000 miles from Earth, known as the Earth-sun Lagrange Point 2 (L2). From there, the complex space observatory will look deep into the universe for signs of life. It will take 30 days to reach L2, and the first images of deep space won't be collected until next year. 

Astronomers have been waiting years for JWST's launch -- this could be the best Christmas present ever for the scientific community if all goes well during launch. 

Watch the launch live right here on the NASA live stream: