NASA’s Webb Space Telescope Burns Critical Mid-Term Correction

At 7:50 p.m. EST on December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope launched its first course correction to adjust its course to its final orbit. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

AT 7:50 p.m. EST, Webb first mid-term corrective burn has begun. It lasted 65 minutes and is now complete. This burn is one of two critical time milestones – the first was the deployment of solar panels, which happened shortly after launch.

This burn adjusts Webb’s trajectory towards the second Lagrange point, commonly referred to as L2. After launch, Webb must perform his own mid-course thrust correction maneuvers to reach orbit. This is by design: Webb received an intentional slight underburning from the Ariane-5 that launched it into space, as it is not possible to correct the rollover. If Webb receives too much thrust, he cannot turn around to return to Earth, as this would directly expose the optics and structure of his telescope to the Sun, overheating them and interrupting the science mission before it even goes. can start.

Therefore, we reach the correct speed in three stages, being careful never to deliver too much thrust – there will be a total of three corrective maneuvers midway through.

After this burn, no key milestones are time critical, so the order, location, timing and duration of deployments may change.

You can follow where Webb is at and learn about upcoming deployments. ">Nasa has a detailed plan to deploy the Webb Space Telescope over a period of approximately two weeks. The deployment process is not an automatic sequence of no action; it is controlled by man. The team monitors Webb in real time and can suspend nominal deployment at any time. This means that deployments may not occur exactly in the order or at the times originally scheduled.

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