Hubble telescope’s successor set for launch, can almost peer back in time


In this Sept. 29, 2014 photo made available by NASA, James Webb Space Telescope Optical Engineer Larkin Carey examines two test mirror segments on a prototype at the Goddard Space Flight Center’s giant clean room in Greenbelt, Md. 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.

In this photo provided by the European Space Agency, the James Webb Space Telescope arrives at Port de Pariacabo in Kourou, French Guiana. It traveled from California through the Panama Canal aboard the MN Colibri. (JM Guillon/ESA/CNES/Arianespace Optique video du CSG)

A French-built rocket is poised to blast off from South America on Friday 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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