The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) is an orbiting infrared observatory that will
complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity.
The longer wavelengths enable the Webb telescope to look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies,
as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.
|Proposed Launch Date:
||The project is working to a 2018 launch date.
||Ariane 5 ECA
| Mission Duration
||5 - 10 years
|Total payload mass:
||Approx 6200 kg, including observatory, on-orbit consumables and launch
|Diameter of primary Mirror:
|| ~6.5 m (21.3 ft)
|Clear aperture of primary Mirror:
|| 25 m2
|Primary mirror material:
|Mass of primary mirror:
|| 705 kg
|Mass of a single primary mirror segment:
|| 20.1 kg for a single beryllium mirror, 39.48 kg for one entire primary mirror segment assembly (PMSA).
|Number of primary mirror segments:
|| ~0.1 arc-seconds
||0.6 - 28 microns
|Size of sun shield:
||21.197 m x 14.162 m (69.5 ft x 46.5 ft)
||1.5 million km from Earth at L2 Point
||under 50 K (-370 °F)
||Thickness of gold coating = 100 x 10-9 meters (1000 angstroms). Surface area = 25 m2. Using these numbers plus the density of gold at room temperature (19.3 x 10-6 g/m3), the coating is calculated to use 48.25g of gold, about equal to a golf ball. (A golf ball has a mass of 45.9 grams.)
- Search for the first galaxies or luminous objects formed after the Big Bang.
- Determine how galaxies evolved from their formation until now
- Observe the formation of stars from the first stages to the formation of planetary systems
- Measure the physical and chemical properties of planetary systems and investigate the potential for life in those systems
- Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam)
- Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec)
- Mid Infrared Instrument (MIRI)
- Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS)
- Lightweight optics
- Deployable sunshield
- Folding segmented mirror
- Improved Detectors
- Cryogenic actuators & mirror control