02 January 2022


If you share my admiration and appreciation of the efforts that have given us the James Webb Space Telescope, you will be happy to note that NASA is reporting some very good news. The launch parameters and course corrections of the Arianespace launch and subsequent maneuvers went so well that a substantial amount of onboard fuel was saved. The mission, designed to last approximately five to six years, with a hope for extension if everything went well to maybe ten, is now estimated to have enough fuel for even a few years beyond that. This is at least possibly long enough that a mission to the LaGrange 2 point (where it will orbit) at some point in the future could refuel and refurbish the telescope. Similar to repair missions to the now nearly 30 year old Hubble. (Right now there is no operational space technology anywhere in the world that could fly even a robotic repair mission to L2, but it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility by the 2030s). 

Of course there are still some very tricky things that have to go right before the mission can be considered a success and the telescope begin operating, but there is a general feeling of optimism. A welcome thing in these very troubled times. Particularly in view of the model of international cooperation which the JWST follows. 

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