Did you know that 1kw is what it takes to power the biggest and most technically telescope ever developed? Or, you know, heat some leftovers in a microwave? Of course, the difference between these two devices is huge, but the facts are real.
Thanks to its fantastic solar array, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will keep its energy-efficient status 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
Recently, the space telescope has reached the final phase of testing before launch. Here is what you need to know.
NASA’s Webb Telescope Capabilities, Mission, and Other Significant Details
Webb Space Telescope’s 6-meter solar array was recently connected to the main observatory for the last time before the much-awaited launch.
The array will fuel all of the telescope’s scientific tools, propulsion, and communication systems. Webb might use only 1kw of power, but the solar array can produce almost double. Also, the telescope’s onboard battery is developed to last only a few hours, until the solar array unwinds in space and starts converting sunlight into electricity.
The solar array includes five panels connected to easily fold up and stow in Webb’s lift-off vehicle, the Ariane 5 rocket. And when Webb launches next year, this deployment will be the first and most significant step in the observatory’s complete deployment process.
Last year, the array was detached from the spacecraft for deployment examination. To lower friction and simulate zero-gravity conditions of deep space, a team of engineers conducted a series of tests by hanging the array on its side. You can watch a short video below to understand better the process.
The James Webb Space Telescope will be NASA and the world’s first space science observatory when it launches. The telescope will try to solve many mysteries in our Solar System, probe the odd structures and origins of our Universe, and look beyond to distant planets around other stars. Webb is an international mission conducted not only by NASA but also by ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.
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