There are two pieces of good news regarding the James Webb Space Telescope. The first information that has been given by most major newspapers is that the glass has been successfully opened, and is waiting for scientists to complete the final tweaks and tests before going into operation. The long and complicated process has been completed, now it’s time to fly to the rendezvous point with destiny.
The second news is not talked about by many people, but it is still important and offers a lot of hope. In a press conference last weekend, engineer Mike Menzel of the James Webb glass project confirmed that NASA had completed the test of excess fuel, and confirmed that the remaining fuel would be enough for Webb to use in the future. 20 years from now.
Before the James Webb telescope took to the air, NASA estimated the Webb telescope would have a scientific life of about 10 years. This figure is based on the performance of the Ariane 5 rocket that sent the advanced research device into the air late last year.
Located in the rocket standing on the launch pad, the Webb glasses carry 240 liters of hydrazine fuel and the oxidizing agent dinitrogen tetroxide. Some of the fuel will be used to steer the instrument, allowing the James Webb telescope to reach the Lagrange 2 point about 1.5 million kilometers away. The remainder will be used in maintaining the orbit, and correcting if necessary.
That means that for every liter of fuel saved, Webb glasses will have more energy to prolong the research process. Understanding that 10 years is too short for a device worth tens of billions of dollars like the James Webb glasses, NASA is planning to refuel the device.
However, new developments suggest that it will be about 20 years before the James Webb Space Telescope needs resupply.
The Webb telescope can be “full of fuel” thanks to the excellent performance of the Ariane 5 rocket. NASA as well as ESA (European space agency) reached an agreement more than 10 years ago to use it. Ariane 5 rocket for the mission to send Webb glasses into space. In return, European researchers will also be able to use the equipment.
In an interview with The Interplanetary podcast, Ariane 5 rocket program manager Rudiger Albat explains how European researchers assembled the drone. The main components of the rocket are removable and exchangeable, allowing the expert team to select the most precise components.
After testing, they filtered out the parts that gave the best results, thereby creating the highly accurate Ariane 5 to put the Webb glasses on the right track. Without needing to use a lot of fuel to correct its orbit, the James Webb telescope has plenty of energy to last for a study period in decades.
In the interview, Rudiger Albat shared his sense of relief when witnessing the smooth operation of the mission. The scientific community as well as the sympathetic astronomy community, continue to keep an eye on the first data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope.
The device is expected to start operating in late June, early July this year.
According to ArsTechnica