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James Webb Space Telescope: how our launch of world's most complex observatory will rest on a nail-biting knife edge

By Leigh Fletcher, Associate Professor in Planetary Sciences, University of Leicester
John Pye, Senior research fellow, University of Leicester
Piyal Samara-Ratna, Principal Engineer, University of Leicester
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When the immense sound of the Ariane 5 rocket rumbles across Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, it will signal the end of a journey decades in the making. Perched atop the rocket will be the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the most sophisticated and complex observatory ever constructed. An enormous mirror 6.5 metres across, consisting of 18 gold-plated segments, will be delicately folded to fit within the nose cone.

That precious…The Conversation

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