Sat Dec 25th, 2021 at 01:02:46 PM EST
James Webb Space Telescope lifts off on historic mission | BBC News |
The observatory was lifted skyward by an Ariane rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
Its flight to orbit was expected to last just under half an hour, with a signal confirming a successful outcome due to be picked up in Kenya.
Webb, named after one of the architects of the Apollo Moon landings, is the successor to the Hubble telescope.
Engineers working with the US, European and Canadian space agencies have built the new observatory to be 100 times more powerful, however.
Lift-off was eagerly awaited but accompanied also by a good deal of anxiety.
Thousands of people worldwide have worked on the project over the past 30 years, and even though the Ariane is a very dependable vehicle - there are no guarantees when it comes to rockets.
"It's a shining example of what we can accomplish when we dream big. We've always known that this project would be a risky endeavour. But, of course, when you want a big reward, you have to usually take a big risk."
NASA announces contract for next-generation space telescope named after Apollo space pioneer | NASA - Sept. 11, 2002 |
European Space Agency