Countdown to liftoff in Kourou, New Guiana • Earth.com

Countdown to liftoff in Kourou, New Guiana

12-17-2021

Today’s Video of the Day from the European Space Agency features Kourou, an overseas French territory in South America that is home to Europe’s Spaceport.

This coastal town is characterized by a tropical climate, white sandy beaches, and dense tropical rainforest. The economy depends greatly on agricultural crops, including coffee, cacao and tropical fruits.

Located just 500 kilometers north of the equator on the Atlantic coast of French Guiana, Kourou is an ideal placed for launching rockets. Here, the rockets gain extra performance thanks to a “slingshot effect” from the speed of Earth’s rotation. 

On December 22, 2021, the largest and most powerful telescope ever sent into space will be launched. The James Webb Space Telescope will be able to look so far into deep space that it will view light from galaxies as they formed 13.7 billion years ago, which is just 100 million years after the universe was born. 

Webb will ultimately solve many mysteries about the universe and make breakthrough discoveries in all fields of astronomy. After the telescope is launched in Kourou, it will embark on a month-long journey to its destination, about one and a half million kilometers from Earth.

Video Credit: ESA

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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