KOUROU: Due to multiple delays due to technical failures, the world’s most powerful space telescope will be launched on Saturday to an outpost 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from Earth.
The James Webb Space Telescope, some three decades and billions of dollars in the making, will leave Earth enclosed in its Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana.
The launch, scheduled in a brief window after 9:20 am (1220 GMT), will send the telescope on a month-long journey to its remote orbit.
It is expected to return new clues to help scientists learn more about the origin of terrestrial planets outside the universe and solar system.
Named after a former NASA director, Webb follows in the footsteps of the legendary Hubble — but intends to show humans what the Universe looked like even closer to its birth nearly 14 billion years ago.
Speaking on social media, Webb project co-founder John Mather described the telescope’s unprecedented sensitivity.
“#JWST can see the heat signature of a bumblebee at the distance of the Moon,” he said.
All that power is needed to detect the weak glow emitted billions of years ago by the very first galaxies to exist and the first stars being formed.