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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, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20 2020, @01:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20 2020, @01:24PM (#1024080)

    James Webb was first announced in 1976... that's 45 years! It's going to be so satisfying when this thing blows up on the launchpad and they have to hire Elon Musk to build a new one which he'll get done and launched in fourteen weeks.

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