Webb will fly into orbit on an Ariane 5 rocket launched from Europe’s Spaceport, French Guiana.
Webb will be the next great space science observatory. It is designed to answer extraordinary questions about the Universe, and make groundbreaking discoveries in all areas of astronomy. Webb will be able to see further into the origins of our universe, from the formation and birth of stars and planets to the birth of the first galaxies of the early Universe.
Webb’s first month in space will see it travel to the Langrange point (L2) and undergo a complex unfolding process. Webb’s sunshield, a five-layer, diamond-shaped structure, will be unfolded. This mirror is 6.5 metres wide and consists of a honeycomb-like pattern consisting of 18 hexagonal mirror segments that are gold-coated.
ESA, in collaboration with partners, was responsible for developing and qualifying Ariane 5 adaptions for the Webb mission as well as for procuring the launch service. ESA also provides support personnel for mission operations and contributes to two out of four science instruments (NIRSpec, MIRI).
Webb, an international partnership between NASA and the European Space Agency.
Credit: ESA/ATG medialab
Music: ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by Philip Guyler and ‘Halcyon Days’ by Ian Hughes