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James Webb Space Telescope delayed yet again


Posted on Wednesday, 28 March, 2018 | Comment icon 10 comments

The James Webb Space Telescope will offer an unprecedented view of the cosmos. Image Credit: NASA
The upcoming launch of the ground-breaking new space telescope has now been pushed back to 2020.
The result of a long-running international collaboration between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, the James Webb Space Telescope will provide scientists with an unprecedented view of the cosmos thanks to a resolution and sensitivity that is unrivalled by anything that has come before.

Its primary goals will be to image some of the first stars and galaxies to have formed after the Big Bang, to study the formation and evolution of galaxies, to better understand the formation of stars and planets and to study the origins of life in the universe.

It should even be able to provide clearer direct imaging of planets in orbit around distant stars

Sadly though, despite its launch already being pushed back from October 2018 to Spring 2019, the next-generation telescope has been delayed yet again until May 2020 at the earliest.
NASA maintains that the reason for the delay is to provide additional time for testing.

"Webb is the highest priority project for the agency's Science Mission Directorate, and the largest international space science project in US history," said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot.

"All the observatory's flight hardware is now complete, however, the issues brought to light with the spacecraft element are prompting us to take the necessary steps to refocus our efforts on the completion of this ambitious and complex observatory."

Given the amount of time, money and effort that has already been spent building the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's careful approach to the launch is undoubtedly a good thing.

Source: Extreme Tech | Comments (10)

Tags: James Webb Space Telescope

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 27 March, 2018, 17:29
NASA’s Webb Observatory Requires More Time for Testing and Evaluation; New Launch Window Under Review  
Comment icon #2 Posted by Merc14 on 27 March, 2018, 17:29
Looks like the James Webb Space telescope will now be delayed until at least May 2020. https://www.space.com/40102-james-webb-space-telescope-launch-delay-2020.html NASA Delays Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Until 2020 By Sarah Lewin, Space.com Associate Editor | March 27, 2018 11:23am ET NASA has delayed the launch of its next great space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, until no earlier than May 2020 — nearly a year later than planned — due to the need for more testing of the telescope's intricate systems and setbacks including tears in the tennis-court-size sun shield, the... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by L.A.T.1961 on 28 March, 2018, 19:27
It's worrying to see the sun shield has ripped, hopefully there is a reliable fix. If it is thought that the material is not strong enough to do the job it could stop the whole project.  
Comment icon #4 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 28 March, 2018, 23:25
Testing and test some more.  Don't want to send up a faulty telescope again like they did with Hubble. I would rather they err on the side of caution.  
Comment icon #5 Posted by Sundew on 29 March, 2018, 3:08
Yeah, without the Space Shuttle, repairs would be difficult. I do hope it is successful, with every new and improved device it sheds ever more light on the universe we live in. Just a pity it isn't launching this year, I'm not getting any younger. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Merc14 on 29 March, 2018, 13:05
The JWST will not be in LEO like the Hubble,  it will orbit the L2 Lagrange point a million miles from earth (Moon is 240K miles away give or take a few miles) and therefore no chance of repairs even if the shuttle was still flying.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 March, 2018, 15:30
There were plans to include a grapple point so that astronauts flying on an Orion could visit/repair the JWST if necessary. I believe the grapple point was dropped.  Even with oit the grapple point it is not impossible for a repair mission to the JWST but it would be very difficult, very expensive and possibly risky to the crew. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Merc14 on 29 March, 2018, 15:56
Thanks, I now remember reading that some time ago and I shouldn't have used the word "impossible" as obviously it is reachable, albeit not easily.   
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 7 April, 2018, 0:34
NASA Announces Independent Review Board Members for James Webb Space Telescope  
Comment icon #10 Posted by Merc14 on 7 April, 2018, 1:10
That is a well selected board, I hope they find that all is well.


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