James Webb Christmas launch, SpaceX finishes the year & more top stories

While the week of Christmas was a slow one, there were two highly anticipated launches. Check out this week’s top stories below.

James Webb Space Telelscope launches from South America

Early Christmas morning, astronomers worldwide were given the gift of a flawless launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Webb is the most powerful space telescope ever made, and it took decades to get to this point. The launch took place from French Guiana on top of a European Ariane 5 rocket. Following the launch, Webb deployed its solar panel and made its first midcourse correction burn, major milestones for the new observatory.

Webb is a collaborative effort between NASA and the European and Canadian space agencies, and it will peer back further than any telescope that came before it. Capable of seeing near-inferred light, Webb will study the first galaxies ever formed and will teach us more about the beginning of the universe. Over the next 30 days, Webb and the teams at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute will deploy each part of Webb. While the stress for many ended at launch, the stress of many more began as it’s now or never to get the deployments right or risk losing the $10 billion telescope.

SpaceX ends a year of launches with a milestone launch

Earlier in the week was SpaceX’s final launch of the year. SpaceX has had a remarkable year of launches, but does it have the most? Stay tuned for our breakdown of this year in launches later this week. SpaceX launched 31 missions to space this year and landed all but one first-stage booster.

The final mission for SpaceX was one for NASA, the company’s 24th resupply flight to the International Space Station. It featured a rarity of recent launches, a brand new booster. The launch of Dragon went flawlessly, and the booster proceeded to land on the droneship Just Read The Instructions six years to the date SpaceX first landed a booster. This marked SpaceX’s 100th successful booster landing, showing again that reusable first stages are possible and not a party trick.

Judge blocks purchase of land for Georgia spaceport

A project not discussed a lot is Spaceport Camden, a venture being developed in Georgia as the next commercial spaceport on the east coast. However, it’s off to a rough start. After not being selected for the Apollo program in the 60s and then not being selected by SpaceX to develop Starship, the spaceport is being temporarily blocked from purchasing land for the development. The spaceport will now have to plead its case to the residents of Camden County, who will hold a referendum on if the land should be purchased.

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