At 6:00 am, 7:20 EST, on Christmas Day 2021, the European Space Agency launches the James Webb Telescope, the successor to the Hubble, from French Guinea, South America. We set our chart for Kourou time. After twenty-six minutes, the primary launch vehicle gets its thrust after which the telescope separates and relies on its own rocket engines.Read more: 2021 – Merry Christmas from James Webb and Us
Will the separation be successful? Or will it get burned up in the launch? We don’t think so, but we do think that a failure to deploy its solar cells is more plausible.
The deployment of Webb’s antenna so the ESA can communicate with it, should go smoothly but the deploying its sun shield, particularly with the Black Moon opposite the Sun trine the Midheaven at Virgo (discrimination) conjunct the Moon (mentality) will be a tense time that ultimately is successful.
So it is something to watch and root (be quiet down under) during the next fortnight. Go Webb go! And to paraphrase the Apollo 8 commander, a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.