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James Webb Space Telescope aloft, next NASA Telescope to launch in SpaceX Falcon Heavy

Even as the James Webb Space Telescope orbits the Sun, NASA is working on its next telescope, the Roman Space Telescope. It will be launched via SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Learn all the details here.

The US space agency NASA has achieved great success by launching and placing the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit. Now, NASA is working on its next telescope. NASA recently awarded SpaceX a tender to provide launch services for the next telescope mission, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope mission. It is a top-priority large space mission suggested by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey 2010, more than a decade old. It’s an indefinite-payment contract, which will cost NASA about $255 million to launch the new telescope. However, this also includes launch services and other mission-related costs. Under the agreement, NASA will launch the next telescope on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“NASA selected Falcon Heavy to launch the Roman Space Telescope, designed to study dark energy and dark matter, search for and image exoplanets, and more,” SpaceX tweeted. However, the telescope is targeted for sometime before October 2026 as specified in the contract for Complex 39A in Florida, SpaceX confirmed. The telescope mission follows the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope mission that was launched in December last year to search for early galaxies and habitable planets. Recently, the Webb Telescope shared its first color images showing the oldest galaxies and new stars.

Now, almost 5 years later, this new telescope will be launched into the sky to investigate questions related to cosmology. It will feature a spacecraft equipped with a 2.4-meter primary mirror to explore topics such as dark energy and dark matter effects and exoplanet hunting. The new telescope also includes a significant general investigator program that will enable further study of astrophysical phenomena to advance other science goals.

NASA shared that the telescope was previously called the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), but was later renamed the Roman Telescope in honor of Dr. Nancy Grace Roman for her outstanding work at NASA. He is best known for his contributions and pioneering work on the Large Space Telescope.

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