The Web has revealed some interesting details about the James Webb Space Telescope. The $10 billion telescope has only 68GB of file storage. This telescope can fill the entire volume in less than 2 hours depending on the task or intensity of the observations. Therefore, it is constantly in communication with NASA specialists, who send data to their servers in Earth.
Although the drive measures 68GB in size, it actually is 33% smaller because part of it is used for engineering data and telemetry storage. The storage capacity for scientific data will drop to 60 GB by the end the life cycle, which is 10 years. This amount is still quite large, however, compared to the 2GB of Hubble telescope’s memory.
Why didn’t they make a bigger drive for James Webb instead? This question is not clear, but it is assumed that the contract for the creation and maintenance of the telescope was signed in 2003.
The telescope must be constantly in touch with Earth due to its small size (the device doesn’t use an SSD but an SSR – Solid State Recorder). The telescope transmits data to NASA twice daily for four hours. Each time, it “pump” 28.6GB of information. This is done using a channel with a frequency of 25.9GHz. The data transfer rate for this channel is 28 Mbps.
The telescope has many communication channels. Engineers can also use the uplink at frequency 2.09GHz. This uplink is very slow at 16 Kbps. There is also a downlink at 2.27GHz with a speed of 40Kbps that transmits telemetry data. This includes the status of the device, its parameters, and other information.