Hubble telescope’s bigger, more powerful successor launches to orbit

STEM

This March 5, 2020 photo made availalble by NASA shows the main mirror assembly of the James Webb Space Telescope during testing at a Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, Calif. Webb will attempt to look back in time 13.7 billion years, a mere 100 million years after the universe-forming Big Bang as the original stars were forming. (Chris Gunn/NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The $10 billion successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is about to take flight. NASA is entrusting the launch of the world’s biggest and most powerful space observatory to its European partners.

After a delay due to weather, a French-built rocket is poised to blast off Christmas morning at 6:20 a.m. CT from South America with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Years behind schedule, the elaborate, budget-busting telescope had to be folded origami-style to fit in the rocket. That’s because its sunshield is the size of a tennis court.

Webb is designed to peer almost all the way back in time, beholding the first stars.

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