Space telescope James Webb reached target in space

The James Webb space telescope has arrived at its destination in space 1.5 million kilometres from Earth.
Artist's impression of Webb ( ESA/ATG medialab)

The telescope fired up its engines for five minutes on Monday and reached the so-called second Lagrange point (L2), according to the US space agency NASA. The most powerful telescope to date far surpasses its predecessor Hubble in size and complexity.

"Webb, welcome home," declared NASA chief Bill Nelson. "We are one step closer to discovering the secrets of the universe. I can't wait to see Webb's first new images of the universe this summer."

The James Webb Telescope will explore the early days of the universe 13 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers hope to draw conclusions about the formation of the first stars and galaxies. Webb looks further into space than his predecessor Hubble and thus also further back into the past. Webb is concentrating on infrared radiation.

An Ariane 5 rocket launched the Webb telescope into space on Christmas Day from the spaceport in Kourou in French Guyana. The telescope, named after a former director of the US space agency, was jointly developed by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).