The US space agency NASA has completed a crucial test on James Webb Space Telescope. The test is called Ground Segment Test. The testing teams said they have achieved positive outcomes on demonstrating that the telescope will respond to commands once in space. This is the first time commands to power on and test its instruments have been sent to the fully-assembled observatory. The agency said that communicating with JWST when in space is a critical priority for scientists. The test validates that all components will function in space with the complex communications networks which involves sending commands and downlinking the data as well. It termed the results of testing as very rewarding.
NASA said that the teams demonstrated the complete end-to-end flow from planning to post the data to community archive. It said seeing James Webb Space Telescope clearing the Ground Segment Tests means that the equipment can communicate with the observatory from its Mission Operations Center in Baltimore. Commands to JWST Webb when in space will be sent from Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore to one of the three Deep Space Network locations in Australia, California and Spain. Signals will then be sent to the orbiting observatory which is nearly one million miles away. Besides, NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite network and other space agencies networks will also help in ensuring communication lines are open with the JWST at all times.
According to NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope is the largest and most technically complex space telescope the agency has ever built. It will help scientists in solving the mysteries of the solar system. The JWST is proposed to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope which was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990. It remains in operation till date. It is considered one of the largest and most versatile research tools in the space. The agency said JWST will provide improved infrared resolution and sensitivity over Hubble Space Telescope. It will help scientists to expand investigations across the fields of astronomy and cosmology. The telescope will also allow researchers to study the most distant events and objects in the universe.