Connect with us

Science

Webb ready for a Christmas launch | Institute for Research on Exoplanets – News | Institute for Research on Exoplanets

Published

 on


The James Webb Space Telescope is now fully assembled, tested and ready to be shipped off to its launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

After more than two decades of twists and turns, challenges and successes, the James Webb Space Telescope has finally completed its battery of tests to ensure that it will survive its journey into space. The telescope includes several now assembled components including a huge sunshield, a 6.5-meter gold-coated mirror, a Canadian-made guiding camera called FGS, and four scientific instruments, including the NIRISS instrument which was designed by a team led by iREx Director René Doyon.

An Ariane 5 rocket launch from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou in 2013. The same rocket model will launch the Webb telescope into space. (Credit: Arianespace)

The Webb telescope is currently in a clean room at Northrop Grumman in California in its stowed configuration. Engineers on site are now preparing Webb for its next trip in October: a journey through the Panama Canal to its launch site in Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America. Once there, the telescope will be reconfigured in preparation for its launch on a massive European Space Agency Ariane 5 rocket.

In coordination with Arianespace, the company in charge of Webb’s launch, NASA has announced that the telescope is scheduled to launch on December 18th 2021. The slight additional delay is due to the launch schedule for other missions using the Ariane 5 rocket in 2021. A first launch putting two communications satellites into Earth orbit took place on July 30 with great success. A second launch is scheduled for September before Webb’s arrival in Kourou. With these two successful launches in hand, the team at the Guiana Space Center will then be able to focus on preparations for the launch of the Webb telescope.

Once launched, the telescope will travel to a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, all the while unfolding into its final configuration. This will be followed by several crucial months during which the telescope instruments will be cooled and tested to ensure their proper functioning during the science mission. The telescope mirror will also be aligned to produce the best possible images. In the meantime, teams of scientists including several iREx members, are joining the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, to attend important launch and commissioning rehearsals. The entire iREx team and the international astronomical community are all looking forward to the Webb telescope who will revolutionise the field of astrophysics!

An international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, the James Webb Space Telescope is the most complex and powerful space telescope ever built. Canada contributed two key elements to Webb: the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) and the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS). In exchange for that contribution, Canadian researchers will have access to 5% of the observing time available to the international community.

Find out more
NASA’s announcement on Webb completing its testing phase
NASA’s announcement on Webb’s new launch date
Canadian Space Agency’s JWST Website
Arianespace Launches

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

NASA splits human spaceflight unit in two, reflecting new orbital economy – CTV News

Published

 on


NASA is splitting its human spaceflight department into two separate bodies – one centred on big, future-oriented missions to the moon and Mars, the other on the International Space Station and other operations closer to Earth.

The reorganization, announced by NASA chief Bill Nelson on Tuesday, reflects an evolving relationship between private companies, such as SpaceX, that have increasingly commercialized rocket travel and the federal agency that had exercised a U.S. monopoly over spaceflight for decades.

Nelson said the shake-up was also spurred by a recent proliferation of flights and commercial investment in low-Earth orbit even as NASA steps up its development of deep-space aspirations.

“Today is more than organizational change,” Nelson said at a press briefing. “It’s setting the stage for the next 20 years, it’s defining NASA’s future in a growing space economy.”

The move breaks up NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, currently headed by Kathy Leuders, into two separate branches.

Leuders will keep her associate administrator title as head of the new Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, focusing on NASA’s most ambitious, long-term programs, such as plans to return astronauts to the moon under project Artemis, and eventual human exploration of Mars.

A retired deputy associate administrator, James Free, who played key roles in NASA’s space station and commercial crew and cargo programs, will return to the agency as head of the new Space Operations Mission Directorate.

His branch will primarily oversee more routine launch and spaceflight activities, including missions involving the space station and privatization of low-Earth orbit, as well as sustaining lunar operations once those have been established.

“This approach with two areas focused on human spaceflight allows one mission directorate to operate in space while the other builds future space systems,” NASA said in a press release announcing the move.

The announcement came less than a week after SpaceX, which had already flown numerous astronaut missions and cargo payloads to the space station for NASA, launched the first all-civilian crew ever to reach orbit and returned them safely to Earth.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Elon Musk trolls Biden with Trump line over perceived Inspiration4 snub – CNET

Published

 on


SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Dragon V2 in May 2014.


Tim Stevens/CNET

Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and leading orbital travel agent, was feeling a bit slighted by the world’s most powerful man  after President Joe Biden failed to acknowledge the company’s landmark Inspiration4 mission that sent four civilians on a three-day trip in orbit of our planet. 

The flight was bankrolled by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who commanded the mission aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, alongside geologist Sian Proctor, data engineer Chris Sembroski and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital employee Hayley Arceneaux. The quartet splashed down safely off the coast of Florida on Saturday.

The mission served as a fundraiser for St. Jude, with over $60 million raised from the public so far. Isaacman also pledged $100 million and Musk added $50 million.

When a Twitter user asked why the president hadn’t acknowledged Inspiration4, Musk hopped into the replies.

“He’s still sleeping,” the CEO wrote, in an apparent reference to Donald Trump’s favorite nickname for his former adversary, “sleepy” Joe Biden.

It seems fair to point out, as a number of other Twitter users have, that the president may have a few other things on his plate at the moment, like continuing to manage the response to a global pandemic, climate crisis and various national security threats. 

For what it’s worth, NASA administrator Bill Nelson, a Biden appointee, did offer his congratulations to the crew multiple times.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Inspiration4 is the latest in a string of pioneering space tourism missions this year. Richard Branson flew to the edge of space on the first fully crewed flight of his Virgin Galactic spaceplane in July. Nine days later, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos cruised a bit higher with three other passengers on his New Shepard spacecraft. 

Unlike those flights, which lasted under 15 minutes each, the Inspiration4 mission was a much more complex venture that saw the four passengers performing scientific research during the multiple day flight as they orbited Earth over 40 times. 

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

15 photos of last night's stunning 'Harvest Moon' over Victoria (PHOTOS) – Victoria Buzz

Published

 on


(Gordon Tolman/Instagram)

Last night, a full Harvest Moon peaked over Vancouver Island. 

Each year, the full moons in September and October fight for the title of “Harvest Moon”, with the full Moon that occurs nearest to the equinox winning the title.

If October’s full Moon occurs closer to the equinox than September’s, the September full moon is then referred to as the Corn Moon.

Since last night’s full moon peaked only two days before the fall equinox, it won the title of “Harvest Moon”.

The moon rose in the southeast and reached peak illumination just after sunset.

Thankfully, the weather was on our side for perfect viewing of the sky last night.

For those who may have missed it last night here are 15 photos of last night’s full Harvest Moon over Victoria:

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending