James Webb Space Telescope, the Successor to Hubble

Courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Chloe Huynh, Staff Writer

    There are many aerospace companies that are building many different aircraft, satellites, and spacecraft, but one of the many inventions out there is called the James Webb Space Telescope. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is similar to the Hubble space telescope, which was launched in 1990 aboard the Space Shuttle. However, unlike Hubble, which helped scientists understand how planets and galaxies form, the James Webb Space Telescope will search for the first galaxies. The idea for the James Webb Space Telescope started in 1990, but it didn’t start construction until 2020. Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace Technologies are the current manufacturers of JWST, and both companies (along with NASA) plan to launch the spacecraft on a spaceport in the French Guiana, which is near Brazil. There have been many changes to the launch date of the James Webb Space Telescope, but the latest launch date is set as October 31st, 2021.

    There have been many spacecraft launched and each one can help us learn more about space. Similar to the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope will help us map out space and can tell us if there are any signs of life, or just an enviroment that’s possible for human life. According to TreeHugger, scientists believe that there can be another planet out there like Earth, and using the James Webb Space Telescope, they plan to find the next Earth. The JWST is similar to the Hubble Space Telescope in several ways, but the JWST is said to be 100 times more powerful than Hubble.

    There are many parts to the JWST, but one of the many parts that stick out is the gold mirrors in front. The larger mirror is made of 18 small hexagons which will be able to reflect infrared light while the mirrors can fold back. Along with being much stronger than Hubble, the mirror on the JWST is much larger, allowing it to have a larger field of view. Currently, the James Webb Space Telescope is estimated to be worth ten billion dollars, and will be finished in the fall of 2021. As stated in Space.com,The cold temperatures and the telescope’s distance from the Earth will give JWST the precision to observe red-shifted light from the early universe. The James Webb Space Telescope will detect infrared light that is 400 times fainter than current space-based telescopes can see.”

    As stated before, both Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace & Technologies will be helping NASA with both building and preparing the James Webb Space Telescope for launch. Northrop Grumman is “a pioneering company. We design, develop, build and support some of the world’s most advanced products, from cutting-edge aircraft and next-generation spacecraft to unrivaled cyber security systems and all-seeing radars” and Ball Aerospace and Technology is known for its contributions in support of space and Earth science, exploration, national security and intelligence programs since 1956.” Both companies have many aerospace engineers and have worked on many different projects/programs with NASA for several decades. Although both companies have their similarities, they also have some differences, but both companies have the same goal of helping NASA succeed in launching the James Webb Space Telescope.