Hubble Space Telescope successor unveiled by NASA

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Friday, May 11, 2007

The model on display at The International Society for Optical Engineering's (SPIE) Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentations conference, May 2006.

NASA has unveiled the new telescope that will replace the Hubble Space Telescope in Washington D.C. called the James Webb Space Telescope [JWST]. Currently, NASA has a life-sized model on display to the public which is as tall as a two story house and weighs several tons.

Researchers at NASA say that the Webb telescope will be able to see farther than Hubble "to the beginning of time."

"It will find the first galaxies and will peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own Solar System," said a statement posted on NASA's website. It will be sent into space where it will orbit nearly 2,000,000 miles from Earth.

JWST will have a large mirror, 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) in diameter and a sunshield the size of a tennis court.

Northrop Grumman is contracted to build the telescope and will be jointly operated by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. It is scheduled to launch in 2013 from Arianespace's ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana.