Many thought that this moment would never come, but finally the space telescope James Webb is in space. Just one day after arriving, the instrument successfully deployed an antenna essential for future operations. The latter, in fact, will be used to transmit the data obtained on Earth.
“The antenna will be used to send at least 28.6 GB of scientific data from the observatory, twice a day,” NASA officials write. “The team has now released and tested the movement of the antenna group: the whole process lasted about an hour.” There is great hope in the telescope, so much so that Bill Nelson, NASA’s administrator, said that James Webb will unveil the secrets of the Universe.
The observatory will have to travel 29 days to a “stable spot” in space called Lagrange Point 2, or L2, which is nearly 1.6 million kilometres from Earth. Not only the antenna: scientists have also activated the thermometers for the first time for the temperature and strain gauges of the telescope.
This way experts can control the temperature and structural health of the Webb Space Telescope in the coming days. In the coming days, “critical operations” are planned for the instrument, especially because the huge telescope sunshade still needs to be deployed. We are talking about a giant panel as large as a tennis court essential to the proper functioning of the observatory.
We are only at the beginning of our great journey with Webb, and we will certainly soon see some beautiful… in every way!