As scheduled, this Tuesday at 20:00 (Spanish mainland time), the james webb space telescope he fired his thrusters for nearly five minutes (297 seconds exactly) to complete his last course correction.

This correction operation placed the Webb in its final orbit around the second Lagrange point (L2), an ideal location for stabilizing ships located 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. From there, aligned with our planet, it will orbit the Sun.

The last trajectory correction burn only added about 1.6 meters per second to Webb’s speed, but that was enough to send the spacecraft into orbit around point L2.

“Webb, welcome home!” exclaimed the NASA administrator, Bill Nelson. “Congratulations to the team for all the hard work to ensure Webb’s safe arrival in L2. We’re one step closer to unlocking the mysteries of the universe, and I can’t wait to see the first new insights into the universe offered by Del Webb this summer!”

Diagram with the trajectory of the Webb until its insertion around the point L2. /Steve Sabia/NASA Goddard

Webb’s orbit will allow for a wide view of the cosmos at any time, as well as the opportunity for the telescope’s optical and science instruments. cool down enough to function and perform ideal science.

The observatory has used as little propellant as possible to make corrections to its course as it travels to the L2 environment, in order to leave as much of the remaining fuel as possible for the Webb’s common operations throughout its life: ship maintenance (small adjustments to keep in orbit) and boost release (counterbalancing the effects of solar radiation pressure on its massive solar shield).

“Over the past month, JWST has achieved incredible success and is a tribute to all the people who spent many years and even decades to ensure the mission’s success,” he said. ochs accounts, project manager Webb at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Now we are about to align the mirrors, turn on the instruments and start some wonderful and surprising discoveries.”

With Webb’s primary and secondary mirror segments deployed from their launch positions, over the next three months, engineers will begin the sophisticated process of aligning the telescope’s optics to near-nanometer accuracy.

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