NASA’s Roman Space Telescope will be launched by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket
We now know how the NASA’s Roman Space Telescope will go to space. According to an announcement made by the American space agency on July 19, the telescope specialized in the search for dark matter will be launched by SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. The launch will take place during the year 2026.
According to NASA officials, the agency will pay SpaceX approximately 250 million euros for the launch and for other mission-related costs. The latter will leave from Launch Complex 39A which is located at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
So far, the Falcon Heavy has only flown 3 times, and the first flight was a test flight. During this test, the heavy launcher sent a Tesla car into space.
For choosing the Falcon Heavy instead of the Falcon 9 ordinary, it seems that NASA needs to more power for the launch of the telescope. The reason is that the Roman telescope has as destination the Lagrange point n°2 or L2 which is at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth. the James Webb Space Telescope is also orbiting this point, and it takes more fuel than usual to get there.
The Roman Space Telescope
The Roman telescope was previously called WFIRST or Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope. It is equipped with a mirror as large as that of the space telescope Hubble. However, Roman is optimized to observe fields of view 100 times wider. The new telescope will thus be ideal for carrying out large-scale observations of the Universe.
With his abilities that allow him to observe in the infrared range, Roman will investigate the existence of the black matter and of dark energy. Scientists believe that these elements make up most of the structure of the Universe.
Apart from the study of these two elements, the telescope will also have the role to examine exoplanets using a technique called “microlensing”. It will be a question of studying the tiny curvatures of space-time caused by the planets which revolve around their star.
According to NASA officials, Roman will be very useful in detecting exoplanets which can then be studied by the Webb telescope with a much higher resolution.