NASA's James Webb Space Telescope launched, to reach destination in 29 days

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NASA's James Webb Space Telescope launched, to reach destination in 29 days (Image: NASA)
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope launched, to reach destination in 29 days (Image: NASA)

New Delhi : NASA has successfully launched its much-awaited James Webb Space Telescope on Ariane 5 rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT; 9:20 a.m. local time in Kourou) on December 25, 2021.

As per NASA's plan, the giant telescope will be exploring the stars, galaxies and alien planets in the next five to ten years.

The space telescope soared into a cloudy sky over Kourou and separated from its Arianespace-built rocket about a half-hour later. Cheers erupted out at launch control as live views of Webb floating away and unfolding its solar array reached Earth. 

"Go, Webb, go!" rang one cheer from an Arianespace flight controller on NASA's live broadcast.

"The James Webb Space Telescope represents the ambition that NASA and our partners maintain to propel us forward into the future," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "The promise of Webb is not what we know we will discover; it’s what we don’t yet understand or can’t yet fathom about our universe. I can’t wait to see what it uncovers!"

"I want to congratulate the team on this incredible achievement – Webb’s launch marks a significant moment not only for NASA, but for thousands of people worldwide who dedicated their time and talent to this mission over the years," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Webb’s scientific promise is now closer than it ever has been. We are poised on the edge of a truly exciting time of discovery, of things we’ve never before seen or imagined."

The first image from James Webb Space Telescope will arrive after six months, the time period of it to commission in the space. Webb carries four state-of-the-art science instruments with highly sensitive infrared detectors of unprecedented resolution. Webb will study infrared light from celestial objects with much greater clarity than ever before. The premier mission is the scientific successor to NASA’s iconic Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, built to complement and further the scientific discoveries of these and other missions.

"The launch of the Webb Space Telescope is a pivotal moment – this is just the beginning for the Webb mission," said Gregory L. Robinson, Webb’s program director at NASA Headquarters. "Now we will watch Webb’s highly anticipated and critical 29 days on the edge. When the spacecraft unfurls in space, Webb will undergo the most difficult and complex deployment sequence ever attempted in space. Once commissioning is complete, we will see awe-inspiring images that will capture our imagination."

The telescope’s revolutionary technology will explore every phase of cosmic history – from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe, to everything in between. Webb will reveal new and unexpected discoveries and help humanity understand the origins of the universe and our place in it.