Science

James Webb Space Telescope Launch Delayed to 2019

James Webb Space Telescope Launch Delayed to 2019”

The date was later revised to October 2018, but this has now been pushed back, with a new launch schedule between March and June, 2019.

According to the U.S. space agency, the telescope is next great multi-purpose observatory and it will also be the world's most powerful space telescope ever built, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide.

When it launches, the James Webb Telescope will be the world's biggest space telescope. On Thursday, NASA announced that the next-generation space telescope would not be ready for launch in October 2018 and would have to slip into 2019.

NASA has an worldwide agreement with the ESA to provide a desired launch window one year prior to launch, so it recently performed a routine schedule assessment to ensure launch preparedness and felt the need to change the launch schedule.

In words taken by Gizmodo, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Scientific Missions Directorate, explained that "this decision is not based on any kind of technical hardware or performance problem, but on the fact that the integration of the different elements of the spacecraft are taking longer than we expected". "Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected". The delay has to do with the integration of the spacecraft bus and sunshield that will bring the telescope into orbit; a process that is taking more time than predicted.

The telescope itself, made up of 18 gold-plated beryllium mirror segments, is now undergoing cryogenic testing in the massive Chamber A at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Next, the JWST will be moved to the Redondo Beach facilities for integration with the spacecraft. Its telescope is infrared-optimized, meaning it will be able to investigate astronomical phenomena as diverse as objects within the solar system, nearby exoplanets outside the solar system, and the very first stars and galaxies.

The close co-ordination with ESA is required because the European agency is providing the Ariane 5 rocket to launch JWST, as part of its scientific collaboration with NASA.

Some delays have been reported in Calirfornai for the spacecraft and sunshield, due to the complexity of the spacecraft, James Webb program director Eric Smith said. Engineers have determined that integration activities, such as the installation of more than 100 sunshield membrane release devices, will require more time.



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