NASA launched the pioneering James Webb Space Telescope into space Saturday from French Guiana, according to Business Insider.
The telescope, known as Webb, cost $10 billion and is 100 times more powerful and six times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope that launched in 1990, according to Business Insider.
Business Insider reported that Webb is the result of a partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency.
An Ariane 5 rocket with Webb inside launched at 7:20 a.m. ET before it shed the outer shell, the body, and the engines, according to Business Insider.
Reuters reported that flight engineers celebrated as Webb then smoothly glided off into space.
Merry Christmas! We got you a new telescope.
The James Webb Space Telescope launched today, beginning a one-million-mile journey to see 13.5 billion years into the past. Follow @NASAWebb and join the quest to #UnfoldTheUniverse: https://t.co/TlYpoUHdJu pic.twitter.com/ilwWPuIJun
— NASA (@NASA) December 25, 2021
The launch is one of multiple for NASA in 2021. The agency, in partnership with SpaceX, planned and launched a rocket in November designed to collide with a threatening asteroid. (RELATED: ‘Reach Those We’ve Never Reached Before’: NASA Joins The Woke Train With ‘Mission Equity)
Business Insider reported that Webb will potentially further human knowledge of the universe and identify distant planets with alien life.
NASA associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said that people have “never seen the universe as Webb will show it to us,” according to Business Insider.
Over the next six months, the telescope will unfold, align mirrors, calibrate instruments, reach a temperature of minus 380 degrees Fahrenheit, and reach a distance of a million miles from Earth, according to Business Insider.
Mired in delays and budgeting issues, Webb reportedly caused further controversy as James Webb, the second NASA administrator and namesake of the telescope, was accused by a petition of enforcing discriminatory policies against LGBTQ NASA employees in the 1950s and 1960s.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson previously said that the agency “found no evidence at this time that warrants changing the name of the James Webb Space Telescope.”