Nasa has successfully launched the James Webb space telescope into orbit
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) from the USA has successfully launched the James Webb space telescope into orbit, giving scientists the opportunity to peer back further into the universe’s history than ever before.
The telescope launched on top of a European Ariane 5 rocket from the Kourou, French Guiana site in South America, on 25 December. Initially scheduled for Christmas Eve, the launch was postponed by a day due to a forecast of high winds at the spaceport.
As the rocket launched, Nasa spokesman Rob Navias said: “Lift-off, from a tropical rainforest to the edge of time itself, James Webb begins a voyage back to the birth of the universe.”
The event was live-streamed on the Nasa website.
Preparation for the project began in 1996, and construction was completed in 2016.
There are still a number of stages to go through until the telescope is operational: a complex unfurling procedure must be completed that will last for up to two weeks. Eventually, the craft will be one million miles from our planet.
There are 344 parts that need to be unfolded remotely, in an incredibly complex procedure that the space agency has never attempted before. Many of the mechanisms have no backup, so should any problem arise the entire endeavor could come to an end.