back to article James Webb Space Telescope completes its voyage to French Guiana

The multinational James Webb Space Telescope – named after a former NASA administrator – has arrived in French Guiana, home to Europe's Spaceport, with launch finally in sight. An international collaboration (including contributions from NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency), the long-in-gestation and eye-wateringly …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Progress

    10,000km done, 1.5M to go !

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Progress

      It's the minutes on top of Ariane that are the most scary.

      Hope things go as planed.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Progress

        >It's the minutes on top of Ariane that are the most scary.

        No, it's the shroud jettison.

        Or the transfer stage ignition

        Or the sunshade unfold.

        Or the mirror deploy and alignment.

        1. Snowy Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Progress

          or the focus of the mirrors is set wrong, there is no going up and fixing it like they did with the Hubble.

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Progress

          Yes Ariane has been extremely reliable. The shroud jettison and transfer stage ignition are solved problems that are done successfully all the time so the odds of a failure there are as low as a launch failure.

          It is the new things, especially the aforementioned sunshade unfold, that I'm concerned about. Given how much time they spent on developing and testing it, it ranks up there with the "crane to lower a rover while hovering over Mars" on the pucker scale IMHO.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Progress

            > The shroud jettison and transfer stage ignition are solved problems

            Except each new payload is different so these seem to be the parts that go wrong the most often

            - although in the case of Hipparcos with beneficial results !

            1. HildyJ Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Progress - butt

              It IS rocket science and it's a series of butt clenching moments. Always.

              The standard disclaimer in investment advice is "past performance is no guarantee of future results" and it applies here as well.

              My butt can't take months of clenching so I will just congratulate all involved for the progress they've made and wish them continued success.

              Bon voyage.

  2. bazza Silver badge

    Shipping Label

    To: Ariane Space, France

    This way up

    Do not drop

    We really, really mean it.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Shipping Label

      > Ariane Space, France

      Hopefully not.

      Although I've had smaller telescope instruments go missing because everywhere discovered by Spanish sailors is called some variation on "Palma"

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Shipping Label

        French Guiana is part of France.

        It's not on the same continent but the postal address, passport control, law, currency, etc. is French

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Shipping Label

          To be precise.

          French Guiana is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France on the northern Atlantic coast of South America in the Guianas.

          Area 91,000 km2 (35,000 sq mi)

          Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.

          Area 6.8 km2 (2.6 sq mi)

          1. Aleph0

            Re: Shipping Label

            Uh, bigger than I thought, 4.38 Wales in Reg units... Bigger that Ireland, about half of Great Britain.

            Like all equatorial regions it looks smaller on maps.

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: Shipping Label

              4.38 Wales in Reg units

              I know it's mostly a joke, but visualising the size in multiples of Whales actually gives me a better grasp of the size of French Guiana than m^2.

              1. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: Shipping Label

                France's longest land border is the one with Brazil. Head hurt yet?

              2. TeeCee Gold badge
                Headmaster

                Re: Shipping Label

                Depends whether your talking multiples of Pilot, Sperm or Blue Whales really.

                1. phuzz Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: Shipping Label

                  Curse this dyslexia!

              3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Shipping Label

                >but visualising the size in multiples of Whales actually gives me a better grasp of the size of French Guiana than m^2.

                Another Brexit benefit

        2. adam 40 Silver badge

          Re: Shipping Label

          The currency is the Euro, not the Franc!

          Better off out!!!

  3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Huge

    bottom clenching time when they light that Ariane 5......

    Although it would be funny if the range safety office accidently put his coffee down onto the destruct button 1 min into flight....

    In truth though we dont want one of these>>>>>>

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Huge

      The odds of getting it at least to orbit are pretty good, the Ariane 5 only blew up the first time (IIRC)

  4. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Happy

    Good luck

    I really hope this does get up and works. The next Sky at Night is about space telescopes and will cover JWST of course.

    The next time I get to go cruising I am planning on heading to French Guiana, partly to watch Ariane launch and partly to try to local rum.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Good luck

      If you like Sky at Night, you might enjoy Night Sky News Monthly by Dr. Becky on the tubes of you.

      She's a published astrophysicist, specialising in black holes, but covers all things astrophysics, astronomy, interviews with people involved in astronomy projects (inc JWST) etc.

      One related to the subject of article, is a conversation she had a few months back with Dr Sarah Kendrew, an astronomer and one of the instrument scientists for JWST. (link).

      1. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: Good luck

        Good call - I'll be watching Dr Becky for a few nights!

  5. sitta_europea Silver badge

    "....Even getting a crewed spacecraft to the JWST's final location would be a challenge in itself."

    If it were my money, I'd have be getting the first of those missions ready for some years now. And not with NASA.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Yes. I also read "considerably more of a challenge than the Hubble servicing missions" and my first thought was that I don't think we currently have the capability, will or money to send a servicing mission anyway.

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