Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 23, @07:55PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the burp dept.

NASA nudges James Webb telescope launch date after 'sudden, unplanned' vibration incident:

The James Webb Space Telescope is a very big, very overdue and very sensitive project. After years of delays, it was supposed to launch on Dec. 18 and become the newest flagship observatory. The launch has now been moved to no earlier than Dec. 22 after an incident during launch preparations.

The telescope is in the process of getting together with the Ariane 5 rocket that will escort it into space. "A sudden, unplanned release of a clamp band — which secures Webb to the launch vehicle adapter — caused a vibration throughout the observatory," NASA said in a statement Monday.

[...] NASA expects to deliver an update on the telescope's condition at the end of the week.


Original Submission

Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Reply to Article Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Snotnose on Tuesday November 23, @10:30PM (7 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Tuesday November 23, @10:30PM (#1199064)

    They either dropped it, or one of the explosive bolts went off.

    Either way this is bad news for a project that is decades behind schedule and billions of $$$ cost overrun.

    I hope this damned thing works while I'm still alive, cuz it's been in the works for half of it.

    I'm actually looking forward to first light, but am also wondering if we'd have been better off with 4-5 smaller scopes launched 10 years ago for half the budget.

    --
    Forget the past, ya can't change it. Forget the future, ya can't predict it. Forget the present, I didn't get you one
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 24, @03:25AM (5 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @03:25AM (#1199124) Journal

      They either dropped it, or one of the explosive bolts went off.

      That wouldn't merely cause a four day delay. Could be a minor hardware issue (like something returning warnings or such) or someone's missing a screwdriver.

      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday November 24, @05:06AM (4 children)

        by anubi (2828) on Wednesday November 24, @05:06AM (#1199158) Journal

        I don't care about delays. My life is full of things delayed because I am not sure about something, and that paradigm has served me well and in the long term has saved me a lot of time, money, and frustration.

        NASA: Do it right. I want to see what this JWST can do as much as anyone else, but have experienced haste makes waste all too many times. I know you are doing things no one has ever done before. Measure twice, and again , then cut.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday November 24, @05:22AM (2 children)

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday November 24, @05:22AM (#1199161) Journal

          NASA: Do it right. I want to see what this JWST can do as much as anyone else, but have experienced haste makes waste all too many times. I know you are doing things no one has ever done before. Measure twice, and again , then cut.

          This is the exact attitude that led to the budget ballooning and nearly 15 years of delays. NASA needs to change the way they handle space telescopes. Make them assembly line style, launch them on Starships. If they want a bigger one, make it modular and assemble it in orbit or at a space station.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday November 24, @09:52AM (1 child)

            by PiMuNu (3823) on Wednesday November 24, @09:52AM (#1199192)

            I have seen many projects rushed to meet a deadline. They always end up costing more, and running later. Do it right, take the time.

            • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Wednesday November 24, @10:16AM

              by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday November 24, @10:16AM (#1199193) Journal

              JWST is Too Big To Fail™ so it must be retested repeatedly at any expense.

              NASA should build space telescopes in such a way that they can afford to have an entire one fail, or to have a segment fail. Or have a JWST-like unfolding telescope with lots of mechanical failure points checked at the ISS before being boosted to its final destination at L2 where it would supposedly be inaccessible for repairs.

              The telescope that ate astronomy [nature.com]

              It seems like the same mistakes will be repeated for the unambitious scaled down version of LUVOIR, because why bother learning? The contractors will still get paid.

              --
              [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Wednesday November 24, @05:33AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @05:33AM (#1199164) Journal

          Do it right.

          With this much delay, they've already done it wrong. Another problem is what happens if the JWST fails? It's got a huge risks before it can successfully deploy in space. I'm sure they have some spare parts and can do the measure thing twice again again, but that would be another huge delay.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Kell on Wednesday November 24, @06:07AM

      by Kell (292) on Wednesday November 24, @06:07AM (#1199169)

      The subtlety is that without doing some fancy phased signal processing games, smaller telescopes would not provide any substantial advantage. The goal of this is to get a larger aperture for resolving finer detail. While you can theoretically use multiple smaller receivers (eg. what they're doing with the SKA), that requires accurately known and consistent spatial arrangements that would be exceptionally difficult to manage in space. With our existing technology and capability, a multi-panel large reflector is our best bet. Alas, governments world wide have lost their abilities to properly fund, manage and execute on engineering projects.

      --
      Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Barenflimski on Tuesday November 23, @11:07PM (1 child)

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Tuesday November 23, @11:07PM (#1199079)

    That sounds bad. Isn't this thing rated for a rocket ship ride to space and a few G's?

    Does this "Unexpected Vibration Event" pause, imply that whatever happened, caused a bigger shock than the launch itself?

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday November 24, @04:54PM

      by sjames (2882) on Wednesday November 24, @04:54PM (#1199232) Journal

      It sounds like it was an "unexpected vibration event" in the same sense that an earthquake is.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @11:22PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @11:22PM (#1199083)

    The egg has a shape engineered for strong forces along its longest axis.
    No doubt equipment riding on top of a controlled explosion will have something similar.
    An uncontrolled event in the wrong axis could cause serious damage.

    Also, vibrations can ring it like a bell and if it was not in its dampening cage, waves could have caused cracks which present themselves now or worse at the Lagrange point.

    Scrub the launch,
    Run it here now on Earth through an entire mission completion,
    then light the fire,
    you only get one chance at this.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Wednesday November 24, @03:59AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @03:59AM (#1199135) Journal

      you only get one chance at this.

      Unless you make more. Economies of scale are the way to avoid this level of nail biting.

  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @12:39AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @12:39AM (#1199095)

    Maybe they should have asked SpaceX to launch it?

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @05:01AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @05:01AM (#1199155)

      Found the misogynist! Why do you hate women? Why are you obsessed with raping women on the cuddle puddle couch? It's an obsession!

      Let me click my projector on to max so that you will understand that only the real men at Boeing know how to treat the ladies right.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @08:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @08:03PM (#1199307)

        Musky boy really going off the deep end these days.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by khallow on Wednesday November 24, @02:52PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @02:52PM (#1199210) Journal
    The long delay in the launch of the JWST is just a symptom of a deeper problem: NASA's thin herd of white elephants. Takyon linked [soylentnews.org] to how broken the JWST really is. (The telescope that ate astronomy [nature.com].)

    It has to work — for astronomers, there is no plan B. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), scheduled to launch in 2014, is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and the key to almost every big question that astronomers hope to answer in the coming decades. Its promised ability to peer back through space and time to the formation of the first galaxies made it the top priority in the 2001 astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, one of a series of authoritative, ten-year plans drafted by the US astronomy community. And now, the stakes are even higher. Without the JWST, the bulk of the science goals listed in the 2010 decadal survey, released this August, will be unattainable.

    [...]

    Hence the astronomers' anxiety: the risks are also astronomical. The JWST's 6.5-metre primary mirror, nearly three times the diameter of Hubble's, will be the largest ever launched into space. The telescope will rely on a host of untried technologies, ranging from its sensitive light-detecting instrumentation to the cooling system that will keep the huge spacecraft below 50 kelvin. And it will have to operate perfectly on the first try, some 1.5 million kilometres from Earth — four times farther than the Moon and beyond the reach of any repair mission. If the JWST — named after the administrator who guided NASA through the development of the Apollo missions — fails, the progress of astronomy could be set back by a generation.

    And yet, as critical as it is for them, astronomers' feelings about the JWST are mixed. To support a price tag that now stands at roughly US$5 billion, the JWST has devoured resources meant for other major projects, none of which can begin serious development until the binge is over. Missions such as the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, designed to study the Universe's dark energy and designated the top-priority space-astronomy project in the most recent decadal survey, will have to wait until after the JWST has launched. "Until then, we're not projecting being able to afford large investments" in new missions, says Jon Morse, director of NASA's astrophysics division. And all the space telescopes currently operated by NASA and the European Space Agency will reach the end of their planned lifetimes in the next few years.

    Worse, the JWST's costs keep growing. In 2009, NASA required an extra $95 million to cover cost overruns on the telescope. In 2010 it needed a further $20 million. And for 2011 it has requested another $60 million — even as rumours are swirling that still more cash infusions will be required (see 'Cost curve').boxed-text

    It goes on and on. It's not just delay. It's not just ballooning costs. It's not just the massive delays in further science and research. There's this huge dysfunction which has greatly reduced the scientific capabilities of NASA with the obsession on building a few white elephants that suck resources that could have been used for a lot of science.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @08:12PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @08:12PM (#1199312)

    I had a sudden controlled vibration incident once. Not nice, especially for my mom who had to clean is up.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, @03:35AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, @03:35AM (#1199426)

    Probably some Woke supremacist unhappy about the name.

(1)