GREENBELT, Maryland -- As the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25 years in space, NASA is using the lesson learned from that mission to help ensure its next one.
The James Webb Space Telescope has a price tag of nearly $9 billion dollars. It’s being assembled in the same room scientist built the Hubble Telescope 25 years ago.
The “Clean Room” at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is over million cubic feet of space and the air inside the room is kept 100 times cleaner than the air we breathe.
It picks up where Hubble leaves off answering the next set of questions that Hubble doesn’t really have the capability to answer or address.
The next-generation telescope is not only bigger and badder than Hubble, scientifically but it’s also physically larger, which has created big hurdles for the engineers.
The James Webb Space Telescope has 18 mirrors. Each is made of lightweight beryllium, covered in gold and cut to the wrong size to accommodate the shrinkage that will occur from the cold temperatures of space.
Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope, which circles the earth, James Webb will go even further, to a place called l-2, for Lagrange Point, about 930,000miles away in space.
NASA says the James Webb Space Telescope is on track for its October 2018 launch, six years before the Hubble Telescope goes dark.
The James Webb space telescope will be owned and maintained by NASA but it will be available to physicists and astronomers all over the world.