The James Webb Space Telescope is a collaborative development project between the American (NASA), Canadian (CSA) and European (ESA) space agencies, and is due to be launched in 2013. Astrium is involved in the building and development of two of the four scientific instruments for the space observatory. The JWST represents a quantum leap for scientists seeking the origins of our universe, as it will be able to see much further into space than its predecessor, the Hubble space telescope. Because the light coming from these distant realms of outer space takes several billion years to reach the Earth, JWST will literally be looking back in time. This is made possible in the first instance by the new telescopes significantly larger primary mirror, comprised of 18 individual hexagonal segments; these will only be unfolded in space.
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