The Webb Telescope: From a Dream to an Extraordinary Success
The origin of the Webb telescope was a NASA & STScI conference in 1988: The Next Generation Space Telescope. Hundreds of scientists and engineers attended and agreed that the logical successor to the Hubble telescope (yet to be launched!) was a larger, cooler telescope in space. After Hubble was launched and repaired, we began again with encouragement and funding from Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA’s Administrator, Dan Goldin. Industry, NASA, and science teams refined the concept to a large deployable telescope to be launched to L2, far beyond the orbit of the Moon. With international partners in Europe and Canada, the project went forward to a successful launch on Christmas day 2021. Remarkably, every critical step in the launch, deployment, and operation went perfectly. Now Webb is sending back data to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore every day. Many of the original goals of the Webb have been achieved. In this presentation, we will look at the origins and design of the Webb. We will also see over a dozen of the Webb science images and discuss their importance to our understanding of the Universe and the birth of stars and planets.
Dr. Peter Stockman (Hervey) was the Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) during the Hubble’s development, deployment and first repair mission. In 1995, he created a small team of engineers and scientists to begin work on the Webb Telescope. Although Peter retired almost ten years before the successful Webb launch on Christmas day, 2021, he remained involved in the development of its science program. Peter will describe the challenges that Webb faced and its scientific goals: understanding the creation of the first stars and galaxies and exploring the atmospheres of nearby Exoplanets.
Thursday, September 28