NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Update (as of 7/23/20)

The James Webb Space Telescope continues its path to a hopeful, successful launch. It has been assembled into its final complete form; the completion of this telescope has almost taken over two decades. To date, it is the largest telescope that NASA has ever built. Engineers are now testing to make sure the parts of the telescope work together to achieve NASA’s goals for the space telescope. All these tests may seem minuscule, but they are far from unimportant. 

For a project of this magnitude, the testing is imperative to the mission and requires a long time to complete. Many of the now completed tests included coding and testing approximately 1,070 sets of code instructions and 1,370 procedural steps. Personnel in charge of producing and repairing the telescope’s software worked 24 hours a day for about 15 days consecutively. Despite the hard work, engineers will now have seven months to further inspect the telescope due to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. 

The launch is currently scheduled for October 31, 2021, it will be launched from French Guiana. It will travel one million miles from Earth and away from the sun before going into orbit. Once in orbit, its massive sunshield and mirror will be deployed to study faint light from faraway galaxies. Despite being fully assembled, the remaining parts of the project will cost an estimated $10 million. 

James Webb’s mission is to help solve the origins of the cosmos, a question in which answers have alluded mankind for many years. Still, hopefully, this project will break through barriers and give us those answers.