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James Webb Space Telescope Reaches L2 Orbit After NASA Course Adjustment

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NASA has finished adjusting the course of its James Webb Space Telescope toward a final orbit around the L2 Lagrange point.

Webb performed a mid-course burn where the spacecraft’s onboard thrusters fired for almost 297 seconds to achieve a corrected trajectory, Alise Fisher, public affairs specialist at NASA, said in a blog post published Monday.

The burn boosted the space telescope’s speed by 3.6 miles per hour to execute the trajectory change, which is needed for Webb to orbit around L2.

NASA expects the spacecraft’s intended orbit to provide for a wide cosmic view while maintaining a temperature cold enough for Webb to perform optimally. The space agency said Webb still has propellant for momentum unloading and station-keeping activities, following the redirection.

Engineers can now begin the three-month process of tuning Webb’s optics to near-nanometer precision, as the telescope’s primary mirror segments and secondary mirror are now deployed.

JWST, which is now almost a million miles away from Earth, succeeds the Hubble space telescope to capture space imagery for astrophysics studies. NASA collaborates with the European and Canadian space agencies for JWST.