New James Webb space telescope to peek into early universe

The space agencies of Europe, the United States and Canada plan to soon learn more about the early universe with their new James Webb Space Telescope. The telescope will be used to observe the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang, NASA Science Director Thomas Zurbuchen said Tuesday. According to the information, the telescope will offer a kind of glimpse into the past 13.5 billion years ago, going back a lot further than its predecessor Hubble.
The James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope (NASA Goddard)

ESA Science Director Günther Hasinger described the new telescope as a "wonderful time machine". The James Webb telescope will also help scientists understand the life of stars and the evolution of galaxies and planetary systems. Space officials also hope the telescope will allow them to better study exoplanets. They also hope to use the telescope to find out whether such planets give rise to life in other stars.

The new space observatory is scheduled to fly 1.5 million kilometers into space from Europe's Kourou Cosmodrome in French Guiana in the fall. The journey to the target orbit is expected to take about four weeks. The launch period will run from late October to early December, according to rocket operator Arianespace. The exact launch date still depends on other launches and will be announced later.

According to the information, the telescope from the international collaboration will be the largest and most powerful telescope launched into space to date.

"Supereye" detects infrared radiation

For the James Webb Space Telescope, Vienna-based space company RUAG Space supplied two high-precision mechanisms for the "supereye" called "NIRSpec," one of the telescope's three main instruments, the company announced in a release. The "supereye" can detect faintest infrared radiation from the most distant galaxies. The instrument weighs about 200 kilograms and will operate in space at a temperature of minus 238 degrees Celsius.
Red-white-and-red technology is also in use during the telescope's final assembly on Earth. The rotary tilting device to allow the satellite to rotate and tilt during final production also comes from RUAG Space. "The largest and most powerful space telescope in the world uses red-white-red technology from Vienna. As a small country, we are showing what top performance our local engineers are capable of," says RUAG Space CEO Andreas Buhl.