The James Webb Space Telescope Has Been Delayed Yet Again


The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been set for launch multiple times and due to one reason or another, the launch gets delayed every time. However, this time, it is said that it is not postponed for a long time. It will only be a matter of days. This was announced because there was an incident while the telescope was being prepared for the launch. Hence, a few more tests need to be conducted to ensure quality.

The James Webb Space Telescope is currently being worked upon in Kourou, French Guiana, ahead of its launch in December. It was reported by NASA that the technicians working on the telescope were in the middle of tethering the telescope to the launch vehicle adapter that was supposed to be further get attached to the upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket, that is supposed to carry it into orbit. When it was being attached, a clamp band suddenly got loose that led to vibrations being sent through the JWST.

NASA workers are lifted alongside the James Webb Space Telescope Mirror during it's media reveal at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S., November 2, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

A review board, headed by NASA, made the decision that additional testing is required to ensure that these vibrations haven’t damaged any components in the observatory. Therefore, the date of the launch is now moved from December 18 to “no earlier than” December 22.

It is being said that the delay is only postponing things, and it is not the first time this has happened. However, it is a good thing because it is better to launch the instrument after entirely testing it for flaws so there are no complications when it is being practically used. It might manipulate the results if it is not entirely accurate and without damage.  

James Webb is destined for the second Lagrange point (L2) in the Earth-Sun system, which is too far away to send astronauts to service it, as they have with Hubble in the past.

It is expected that there won’t be any significant issues due to the vibrations and the wait will not be too long.


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