December 3, 2021

See the Mighty James Webb Area Telescope Being Unboxed

The most important area telescope on the planet, the James Webb Area Telescope, will quickly be launching to review the wonders of the cosmos and to hunt for liveable exoplanets. However earlier than it may be launched there’s a complete lot of preparation required, and a brand new video from the European Area Company (ESA) reveals the telescope being unboxed from its transport container.

Final month, James Webb was packed up in California and shipped by way of the Panama Canal to French Guiana in South America, from the place it will likely be launched subsequent month. But it surely’s no easy matter to pack up a fragile telescope this massive, so it needed to be fastidiously folded away right into a specifically constructed case to maintain it protected on its journey.

The James Webb Space Telescope is unboxed in the cleanroom at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
The James Webb Area Telescope is unboxed within the cleanroom at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. ESA/CNES/Arianespace/NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Middle

“After its arrival at Pariacabo harbor in French Guiana on 12 October 2021, the James Webb Area Telescope was transported to Europe’s Spaceport and unboxed within the cleanroom. It’s now being ready for its launch on an Ariane 5 rocket in December,” the European Area Company (ESA) writes.

“Although the telescope weighs solely six tonnes, it’s greater than 10.5 meters excessive and virtually 4.5 meters huge when folded. It was shipped in its folded place in a 30 m lengthy container which, with auxiliary gear, weighed greater than 70 tonnes.”

Having arrived safely at its vacation spot on a heavy-load tractor, the telescope then needed to be unpacked within the cleanroom at Europe’s Spaceport.

A cleanroom is a fastidiously managed surroundings that retains out mud and dirt, to keep away from contaminating any a part of the telescope. To enter the cleanroom, engineers must undergo a collection of lobbies to take away any unfastened particles from their footwear and hair and pores and skin, and don sterile overclothes affectionately referred to as “bunny fits.” All of that is to make sure that no speck of mud is left on the telescope which might impede its functioning as soon as it’s launched.

Throughout the cleanroom, the outer casing is eliminated and the telescope is fastidiously hoisted out and absolutely unpacked. It’s positioned onto a mechanism referred to as a rollover fixture, which permits the telescope to be raised onto its finish and stand vertical, in the identical place it will likely be loaded into the rocket for its launch on December 18.

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