NASA had hoped to send the James Webb Telescope on its way to space by December 22, but its launch was again delayed. You may have read many variations of this sentence by now if you follow the observatory, seeing as its launch has been delayed several times already. In an announcement posted on the project’s official page, NASA said the James Webb team is working on a communication issue between the telescope and the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. As such, it will be launched no later than December 24.
James Webb’s project has faced many setbacks since development began in 1996, due to various reasons including over budget and major redevelopments. After testing was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA worked on its October 18, 2021 launch. However, after testing by the agency and prime contractor Northrop Grumman, it was decided that the telescope would not be ready until November or December of this year. NASA previously announced the December 18 launch date, which was pushed back to the 22nd after an unplanned release of the clamp bar that secures James Webb to the launch vehicle’s adapter, prompting a thorough check to make sure the telescope was not damaged.
If all goes as planned this time around, December 24 is the earliest possible release date that can be scheduled. The telescope may head toward the second Lagrangian point of the Earth-Sun system later on Christmas Eve — NASA says it will reveal more details about the new target’s launch schedule on December 17. When he reaches his destination, James Webb will observe the universe with an eye deeper than Hubble, thanks to instruments that will allow him to see objects very old and very far away from the older telescope.
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