james webb space telescope

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) trajectory trace from launch to final orbit (via NASA)

In a world awash in bad news (climate warming, the Ukraine, Omicron, insurrection, etc, etc, etc) it’s nice to read some very good news. Such is the case of the JWST reaching its stable orbit around Earth’s Lagrange 2, or L2 point. I’ve been following the progress of JWST from its launch on the Ariane 5 through each step of its deployment and final orbital injection burn. It was a $10 billion dollar gamble, but an incredibly engineered gamble, and it all paid off by paying attention to the most minute engineering and science detail. All the naysayers kept saying how it was a waste of resources, that there were too many things that could, and would, go wrong. But as the time passed through its construction and testing, the launch, and each little deployment step, all the criticisms were slowly and methodically knocked down.

Now the JWST is in orbit around L2, its science packages and instrumentation continuing to cool down towards near absolute zero for the telescope’s sensor. There will still be tiny, tiny, tweaks to be made to each of the mirror’s subsections, a final tuning, but that also appears to be going well.

I’m amazed at what’s been accomplished, and so thankful that NASA shared the voyage out to L2 with us. JWST goes to reassert what we can accomplish if we just decide to do it and then do it right.