NASA has announced that Webb can stay in space much longer. NASA reveals the temperatures Webb feels.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

News! Great news for Webb just 4 days after launch. NASA has calculated that Webb may be in space longer than previously thought. Until now, Webb was thought to have a lifespan in space somewhere at approx. 10 years, that is, until the end of 2031. But NASA said Webb could stay in space much longer. This is due to the accuracy of the Ariane 5 with which the James Webb Telescope launched. The James Wevv Telescope must reach the point set by NASA, L2. 

L2 is a point of gravitational equilibrium in the far part of the Earth, far from the Sun. And NASA has calculated that Webb needs less propulsion to correct its orbit to L2. Thus, Webb saves a lot during the 26 days he has until L2. But Webb's spare fuel is not only on its way to L2, but also to adjust its orbit after reaching that point. "Webb has rocket propellant onboard not only for midcourse correction and insertion into orbit around L2, but also for necessary functions during the life of the mission, including" station keeping "maneuvers - small thruster burns to adjust Webb's orbit - as well as what's known as momentum management, which maintains Webb's orientation in space. " said NASA.

Also, this NASA announcement comes immediately after Webb took another big step in his path. Webb unpacked his front and back pallets. In short, the opening operation was called Aft Sunshield Pallet. NASA reports: "The UPS supports and carries the five folded sunshield membranes. Prior to this, the spacecraft will have been maneuvered to provide warmer temperatures on the forward UPS and various heaters have been activated to warm key deployment components. Key release devices have Various electronics and software have also been configured prior to support the UPS motions, which are driven by a motor. " 


Temperature control is a vital aspect of Webb's design, engineering and operations. Of the many temperature monitoring points on the observatory, this page displays 2 "hot side" and 2 "cold side" temperatures that are a good indication of overall temperature status and trends.

The temperatures displayed on the hot side of the observatory are located on the sunshield structure and spacecraft bus. . The temperatures displayed on the cold side of the observatory are located on the primary mirror and instrument (ISIM) module radiator. They are labelled with the following letters (note: these labels will pop up if you hover your mouse over the display):

  • a) Sunshield UPS Average Temperature (hot side: Sunshield Structure)
  • b) Spacecraft Equipment Panel Average Temperature (hot side: Spacecraft Bus)
  • c) Primary Mirror Average Temperature (cold side: Mirrors)
  • d) Instrument Radiator Temperature (cold side: ISIM)
Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

And after these two wonderful things that Webb did, NASA finally reveals the temperature that Webb feels in space. According to NASA, the hot part of Webb feels a temperature between -6.6 degrees Celsius and 9.5 degrees Celsius (20-49 degrees Fahrenheit). And the cold part to feel a temperature between -57 degrees Celsius and -154 degrees Celsius (-71 - -244 degrees Fahrenheit).

We wish Webb success on his long journey and wish NASA, ESA and CSA a successful mission with Webb. 

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 29 December 2021, at 11:41 am Los Angeles time

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