The Peruvian engineer who will command the launch of NASA’s James Webb telescope

James Webb, the most powerful space telescope ever built aims to revolutionize what we know about the universe and is set to launch this Saturday morning, December 25. A select team of professionals will be in charge of launching the historic mission into orbit, including the Peruvian Aracely Quispe, Ph.D. in Science and engineer from NASA.

In your hands will be the success of one of the most expensive and important missions in astronomy, one that began to be planned almost 30 years ago and that it will finally have its litmus test after a series of delays due to various setbacks, including the coronavirus pandemic.

With a cost that borders the 10 billion dollars The James Webb has the ability to see the first stars and galaxies that emerged in the universe, as well as the details of the atmospheres of exoplanets (worlds outside our solar system), their potential to host life and other ‘secrets’ of the cosmos .

But all of that could go bad in a matter of seconds. After being propelled by an Ariane 5 rocket towards Earth orbit, the space probe will have to carry out 344 operations in the next 14 days and then go 1.5 million kilometers from Earth and begin operating.

Quispe and his team must ensure that none of these key steps fail. In them are the hopes of all the promoters of the project: the space agencies of the United States (NASA), Europe (ESA), Canada (CSA) and France (CNES) and hundreds of scientists.

The Lambayeque-born aerospace engineer does not lack experience to face this new challenge. Since she was a flight and operations engineer for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which flies over our natural satellite to send new information to Earth.

In an interview with La República in 2019, when he had already begun to be part of the team that would command the “largest telescope to study the universe,” Quispe claimed to be fulfilling all his dreams.

“Having the opportunity to participate and collaborate and bring this mission to a successful launch makes me feel special and also very proud that, being Peruvian, we can make history”, He told BBC Mundo on another occasion.