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The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope or JWST was the most anticipated mission in decades. The liftoff was on Christmas day and according to the JWST tracker the telescope is fully deployed by now. When the spacecraft finished unpacking the construction parts, NASA announced that the telescope has enough fuel to stay in space for more than 10 years, which doubles the minimum time for the mission.

The Verge notes that formally JWST was projected to stay in space from 5 to 10 years. But NASA released the result of the analysis that the telescope has enough propellant to conduct scientific missions for even longer. According to NASA, the extra propellant is thanks to the precision of the Ariane 5 rocket that the JWST was on when it was launched into space. The spacecraft also saved some power due to the precision of the first and second mid-course correction maneuvers — small trajectory tweaks that the spacecraft has completed in the days since launching, setting it on a path toward its destination a million miles from Earth.

According to NASA, the precision of these maneuvers leaves the spacecraft with more propellant it can use to maintain its final position for observing the cosmos. The space agency warns, however, that “many factors” could ultimately affect JWST’s lifespan.

This situation is not a miscalculation of engineers and scientists. The Hubble telescope’s initial scientific research lifespan was changed during the mission. NASA initially projected the Hubble telescope would last about 15 years, but it’s still operating today, more than 30 years later. And that is thanks to the astronauts’ help. Unlike the Hubble telescope, JWST has no option to be repaired or modified. JWST, which collects infrared light, is capable of imaging objects 10 to 100 times fainter than what Hubble can see.

The launch trajectory’s accuracy also allowed JWST to deploy its solar array a bit early. Following separation from the Ariane 5 rocket, deployment of JWST’s solar array was set to begin about 33 minutes after launch. But it actually happened about 29 minutes after launch because JWST was at the correct position after the separation, NASA said in its press release. However, unlike the solar array deployment which was automatic, future deployments—including the spacecraft’s sunshield and segments of its primary mirror—are going to be human-controlled, NASA says.

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