Orbital telescope’s first full-color images just released

WASHINGTON (13 July 2022) – IEEE-USA today praised the international team behind the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), calling the orbital device a triumph of engineering. NASA, in partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency), released the first batch of breathtaking images yesterday.

“The JWST is an enormous technical achievement,” said Deborah M. Cooper, 2022 IEEE-USA President. “The challenge posed by launching a self-building telescope into the incredibly harsh environment of space cannot be understated. Countless things had to work just right for this project to be a success, and as the first images have shown, they worked perfectly.”

The telescope, launched on December 25, 2021, is designed primarily to conduct infrared astronomy. JWST is the most powerful telescope ever sent into space, and its high resolution and sensitivity will allow it to view objects too old, distant, or faint to be seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been in orbit since 1990. JWST will allow the world to see exoplanets and galaxies at unmatched clarity. Yet it can also capture images of our own solar system, and upcoming images of planets such as Jupiter are sure to yield many discoveries.

Unlike Hubble, which operates in low Earth orbit, JWST is deployed in an area of space 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 mi) away from Earth’s orbit, at a spot called the second Lagrange point, or L2. This location is ideal for JWST to observe the universe without obstruction and with minimal orbital adjustments.

“Hundreds of companies and several thousand engineers, scientists, and technicians from 15 countries around the world have contributed to the JWST program so far,” said Cooper. “This telescope will not only provide invaluable insight into the origins of our universe, but will also inspire new generations of technical professionals to help push the envelope of scientific achievement for decades to come.”

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Russ Harrison
Director of Government Relations, IEEE-USA