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Worrying hours when the James Webb Telescope starts

Worrying hours when the James Webb Telescope starts

Shortly before the start, everyone involved was nervous. Everyone knows his job, everything runs like clockwork. But there is still a certain tension, especially with such an expensive shipping like this James Webb Weltraumteleskop. After several delays, the start window is now available for a file December 25 between 1:20 pm and 1:52 pm scheduled. During this time, everything should be perfect for a start, especially the weather.

There is a separate weather station on the railing ESA spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. the Guyanese Space Center It is located in the middle of the tropical rainforests of South America, which is why the danger of thunderstorms or winds is ubiquitous at high altitudes.

Before takeoff, the weather station collects information via the satellite and the weather balloon in the middle height 30 km takes measurements. Even just before the start, the weather is monitored and reported to officials so that all conditions are perfect.

Ariane 5 . is equipped

missile Ariane -5 She got her on the rails on December 23 Starting place ELA-3 Brought in, pulled by a small blue bus. The folded telescope is already at its tip. You’ll reach ELA-3 with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen with fuel. There are fire pillars underneath, which later serve to direct the flames in a targeted manner so that it doesn’t burn everything out of control.

Tons of water dampens the sound

Ariane-5 is almost fully fueled and loaded 500 tons heavy. This creates an initially deafening volume, which can result in a certain hearing loss for anyone in the vicinity. This is why they empty themselves million liters of water on the starting table.

This dampens the sound, similar to how it reduces noise when you’re submerging your head underwater in a swimming pool. through combustion hydrogen and oxygen mixture and the ammonium perchlorate The solids booster that comes with aluminum bolver It reacts, the ignition is so intense that tons of water simply evaporate.

Insight into the “cockpit”

Everything is controlled 4 kilometers It was removed in the “cockpit” of Ariane-5, and Launch Center 3 (CL3). You cannot approach the missile during takeoff. The Foreign Legion evacuated and sealed off the area. The building itself is the basement. He says, “I feel very safe here.” Jean-Marc Durand, President of Arianespace in French Guiana During my visit to the site. It will be there at launch. CL3 is hermetically sealed and equipped with air conditioning to protect people from smoke and toxic gases while starting.

120 people He’ll check the missile there before takeoff and take care of refueling. There is a waiting window from 30 minutesWhere issues can still be fixed before the countdown begins. In the CL3 control room there is also a switch that can turn everything off. “Everything is already programmed, nobody touches anything anymore. There is no button to start, only one button to stop,” explains Durand.

key stop start

7 minutes Control is passed to the computer before starting. If something goes wrong, the switch will turn on. Then all processes are stopped and the countdown is reset to -7. Everything is checked again. If CL3 decides that everything is fine now green light to me Buyer’s room” I sent.

This is the control room where all the data is grouped together. All the officials from NASA and the European Space Agency are sitting here, as well as the spectators watching the start. 58 people Sitting in the control center, 230 seats At the top of the visitor’s booths. One of the most important people is Jean-Luc Foer, Director of Operations at Der. “We are all nervous in the moments before the start because everything has to be just fine,” he explains.


The dress rehearsal was already on 19. December Implemented successfully. Everyone involved knows exactly what to do. It will be another test run 3 hours before starting Give. “Then all switches, buttons, and systems are checked again,” Foer says. 2 hours Before starting, telemetry is checked, that is, whether a video connection to Ariane-5 has been established or not. 20 and 10 minutes The last briefing is made before the start. The main objective here is to analyze the data from the weather station.

Then the big moment approaches more and more. will spur countdown Performing, of course, in French. He gave me a little preview of these exciting seconds of the site:

First he says, “Watch out, this is the last sign before the grand finale.” Then he counts down from 10 until he says “up” – and finally you hear the words “Allumage” (ignite) and “Décollage” (dislocation). The rocket then soars into the sky and brings the James Webb Telescope into space.

30 minutes of worry

The work on Salle Jupiter is not completely finished yet, only in CL3 you can now lean. Fear and Hope follows about 30 minutes until Webb is on the right track. after 2:21 min Will solid fuel booster separated by 3:26 minutes it works payload fluidity Like the crust and launches the telescope – this event can be observed, because the appropriate cameras have been installed. after 8:47 minutes Will master level I broke up and then 27:07 minutes Web is completely alone.

How the journey continues after that, you read here. According to the current plan, it will be the beginning December 25 at 1:20 p.m. take place. The Future District will accompany the event with a live tape.

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