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posted by martyb on Monday July 20 2020, @05:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the trick-or-telescope dept.

NASA Ominously Chooses Halloween 2021 to Launch Long-Delayed Space Telescope:

NASA hopes to launch the much-anticipated James Webb Space Telescope [(JWST)] from French Guiana on October 31, 2021, the agency announced today. Ongoing technical challenges and the covid-19 pandemic were cited as reasons for the latest delay to the project.

[...] The new date—October 31, 2021—represents a seven-month delay from the most recent launch target of March 2021 atop an Ariane 5 rocket.

[...] James Webb is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which is now 30 years old. The project is currently in the integration and testing phase of development, the final phase before it gets transported to French Guiana. Once in space, some million miles away from Earth, Webb will use its infrared telescope to observe some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, study star-forming nebulae, and even scan the atmospheres of distant exoplanets.

[...] At a NASA press conference earlier today, Gregory Robinson, JWST program director, said the decision to move the launch from March 2021 to October 2021 had to do with lingering development challenges and hardships imposed by the covid-19 pandemic. NASA, he said, was planning to re-evaluate the project's schedule margins prior to covid-19, but the pandemic forced the issue, resulting in yet another delay.

When asked to account for the seven-month delay, Robinson said three months had to do with covid-19 and two months had to do with existing technical issues, such as pending vibration testing, a review of the telescope's new sunshield, risk-reduction measures, among other outstanding tasks. The remaining two months were added as a buffer, said Robinson.

NASA's press release.


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  • (Score: 2) by Barenflimski on Monday July 20 2020, @06:18AM (3 children)

    by Barenflimski (6836) on Monday July 20 2020, @06:18AM (#1023994)

    Day of the Dead is a celebration of those that came before us. Halloween is a happy day for kiddo's. Why is October 31st ominous? A large portion of the world doesn't do anything special on that date. Ominous for just people north of the equator in the America's?

    What's next for this authors click-baity headlines? Counting black cats before the launch? Making sure there are no ladders? Making sure there are no mirrors? Lemme guess. His next headline will read, "New James Webb Satellite launch has potential to bring 126 years of bad luck to United States!!" I didn't click the article to see the publication, but just by the headline "The Sun" comes to mind.

    As for me I'm excited to see another date put on the calendar. I'll be watching and hoping that the thing makes it into its final position and isn't blurry.

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  • (Score: 4, Touché) by maxwell demon on Monday July 20 2020, @07:40AM (1 child)

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 20 2020, @07:40AM (#1024007) Journal

    Making sure there are no mirrors?

    For a space telescope, that would be a very bad idea.

    But then, it's only broken mirrors that are supposed to cause bad luck. And making sure that the mirror doesn't break is actually a very good idea when launching a space telescope.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday July 20 2020, @10:55AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 20 2020, @10:55AM (#1024029) Journal
      But suppose the space mirror collides with a space black cat in orbit? That could be seven years of space bad luck. Seven years! Well, plus the bad luck one gets from running into a traditionally unlucky 6-10 kg vertebrate at 10+km/s.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20 2020, @01:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20 2020, @01:44PM (#1024101)

    Because that is the date comet neowise will collide with moon.