Issue 27

James Webb Telescope Launch Features Marshall Cams

Miniature cameras integrated into space launch and observation, beaming back images to worldwide space-nerds


4 February 2022

It’s been more than 30 years since the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space to study the origins of the universe. When it was announced that the James Webb Space Telescope was taking its place, history was about to be made again. Launched into space on December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope was sent into orbit by the European Space Agency in collaboration with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. A replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful space telescope ever built, designed to greatly enhance our ability to observe galaxies, planets, stars and even nebulae to help unravel the secrets of the Universe. 

Built by NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket, a contribution by the European Space Agency, which oversaw the rocket and launch site. Réaltra Space Systems, based in Dublin, Ireland, designed and developed the video camera telemetry system for the European Space Agency and selected two Marshall Electronics miniature HD cameras to be installed in the launch bay that beamed back images to a worldwide audience, eager to observe the telescope as it was released into orbit. The cameras were supplied and supported by Marcam Europe, Marshall Electronics’ European distributor.

“Marshall has a history of camera and lens integration onboard rockets, satellites, and space vehicles, so there was precedence to Réaltra’s choice,” says Tod Musgrave, director of cameras, Marshall Electronics. “We are honoured to be selected for this event and proud that our cameras are onboard to share the launch with observers all over the world.”

The miniature cameras proved to be the right fit to provide clear images during the violent launch. The Marshall mini-cameras are designed to capture detailed shots with accurate colour while maintaining a discreet lightweight, miniature point-of-view. 

The James Webb Space Telescope reached its (unknown) destination, nearly one million miles from Earth, in mid-January. It’s reported that the telescope’s first target is to reach the Big Dipper in the coming months.

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Issue 27