The BBC’s science editor Rebecca Morelle on how the observatory hopes to capture the history of our Universe.
The $10bn James Webb telescope has left Earth on its mission to show the first stars to light up the Universe.
The observatory was lifted skyward by an Ariane rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
Its flight to orbit lasted just under half an hour, with a signal confirming a successful outcome picked up by a ground antenna at Malindi in Kenya.
Webb, named after one of the architects of the Apollo Moon landings, is the successor to the Hubble telescope.
Engineers working with the US, European and Canadian space agencies have built the new observatory to be 100 times more powerful, however.
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