NASA’s Webb Space Telescope and SLS Moon Rocket Named TIME Inventions of 2022

James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket were named TIME Inventions of the Year 2022. " data-gt-translate-attributes="[{" attribute="">Nasa led the Webb International Partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). The agency’s SLS rocket, the most powerful rocket in the world, is designed to send humans to the Moon Artemis Missions for the benefit of mankind. TIME made the announcement on Thursday, November 10.

“We designed the Webb Observatory to see the first lights that came on in our universe. When I saw the first published images, I was struck with awe, wonder and satisfaction to know that everything what’s out there, Webb will see,” said Mike Menzel, NASA mission systems engineer for Webb at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. TIME named Webb a better invention in the “Design” category.

The James Webb Space Telescope

In addition to observing distant stars, galaxies and exoplanets, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope will study our solar system. 1 credit

The SLS rocket is set to launch on its first flight test for the Artemis I mission on Wednesday, Nov. 16, to send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft around the Moon and back to Earth to thoroughly test systems ahead of missions with astronauts. SLS is the only rocket capable of launching humans into Orion with their supplies to the Moon and beyond. TIME named SLS a better invention in the “Experimental” category.

“We will demonstrate the capability of the Space Launch System Moon rocket, the largest rocket NASA has built since the Saturn V, on the Artemis I mission,” said John Honeycutt, SLS program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “The heavy rocket’s innovative design allows it to scale and become even more powerful so it can carry both astronauts and large cargo on increasingly complex missions to the Moon and " data-gt-translate-attributes="[{" attribute="">March.”

SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft

SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. Credit: NASA

Spear on December 25, 2021, from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, the Webb Telescope has already uncovered never-before-seen views and hidden secrets of the universe. Webb saw first galaxiesbrought a new perspective to planets in our own solar systemand peered through dusty clouds to see stars forming, as in the Pillars of creation.

NASA Headquarters in Washington oversees the Webb Telescope mission. Godard from NASA manages Webb for the agency and oversees work on the mission performed by the Space Telescope Science Institute, Northrop Grumman, and other mission partners. In addition to Goddard, several NASA centers contributed to the project, including that of the agency Johnson Space Center in Houston, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, and others.

NASA SLS Orion at launch pad

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft on board is seen atop the mobile launch vehicle at Launch Pad 39B, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Artemis I flight test is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, the SLS rocket and supporting ground systems. The earliest unmanned flight test launch is scheduled for Nov. 16 at 1:04 a.m. EST. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

With its unprecedented power and capabilities, the SLS rocket forms the basis for NASA’s Artemis missions to the Moon and beyond. SLS launches the Orion spacecraft, built in partnership with ESA, for missions to the Moon that will provide humans with the knowledge needed to travel to Mars. SLS is built with a combination of proven systems and innovative manufacturing. To meet America’s future needs for deep space missions, SLS will evolve into increasingly powerful configurations.

SLS is America’s rocket, and more than 1,000 companies in 45 states have contributed to the rocket managed by Marshall, which oversees the work of prime contractors Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Aerojet Rocketdyne and other companies. Currently, NASA and its industrial partners are building rockets for four more Artemis missions. All NASA centers have played a role in the Artemis missions, which usher in a new era of human exploration of deep space.

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