NASA Discovers Webb Has Enough Fuel For 10+ Years Of Deep Space Exploration

The James Webb Space Telescope is still in the early stages of its mission, but so far everything has gone smoothly (JWST).

JWST has been making great progress since being launched into space on Christmas Day from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. In a recent news conference to commemorate the telescope’s successful mirror deployment, mission officials stated that JWST may last longer than previously expected.

Significance Of Fuel

During a live-stream press conference hosted by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, Webb project manager Bill Ochs emphasised that fuel is a severely restrictive resource. As humans can not reach this telescope and fix any problem as we did in the case of Hubble, fuel would be very important for Webbs existence in space.

How Much Fuel Is Left?

According to initial predictions, the telescope would have enough fuel to last for about ten years until it arrives at its target. Scientists were pleasantly delighted to learn how much fuel JWST had left due to the accurate launch by Arianespace’s Ariane 5 heavy-lift rocket.

“Right now, we have quite a bit of fuel margin relative to 10 years,” Ochs explained, “because of the efficiency or accuracy with which Ariane 5 put us on orbit, and our accuracy and efficacy in implementing our mid-course corrections.” “It’s around 20 years of propellant now,” says the narrator.

Can JWST serve longer than usual?

The JWST was supposed to finish its mission in five to ten years, but it looks like it will be able to serve us with stunning photographs for a lot longer now. Ariane 5 deserves a lot of credit for this. The heavy-lift space launch vehicle was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and was used to launch the telescope into orbit.

What Is The Composition Of The Fuel In JWST?

240 litres of hydrazine fuel and dinitrogen tetroxide oxidizer were used to fuel the telescope prior to launch. This fuel was supposed to be used for course corrections on the way to Lagrange Point 2 (L2), which is 930,000 miles from Earth. The rest of the fuel would be used for orbits around L2.

Naturally, the less course correction is required on the way back, the more fuel is available for exploring the ultimate location. Engineers at the European Space Agency took extra care to guarantee that only the best elements were used in Ariane 5. According to Rudiger Albat, the programme manager for Ariane 5, everything was double-checked to ensure there were no surprises. This meticulous attention to detail has clearly paid off.


The team will now spend several months adjusting the mirrors and calibrating the telescope’s equipment. This is all in preparation for JWST’s activities over the summer months. Webb’s first photographs are expected to be released to the public shortly after that.

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