James Webb Space Telescope Launch Delayed Again

James Webb Space Telescope Launch Delayed Again

NASA announced on Wednesday that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a complicated mission created to transform American astrophysics and astronomy as we understand it, is now expected to launch on March 30, 2021, about one year later than expected under a timetable announced in March.

A report issued by the review board addresses a range of factors influencing Webb's schedule and performance, including the technical challenges and tasks remaining by primary contractor Northrop Grumman before launch.

"Webb should continue based on its extraordinary scientific potential and critical role in maintaining USA leadership in astronomy and astrophysics", Tom Young, chair of the review board, says in a statement. "Ensuring every element of Webb functions properly before it gets to space is critical to its success". NASA noted in today's call that it was already implemented numerous recommendations included in the report, and those various factors played into the decision to push the date back yet again.

The mission was re-planned in 2011 after it became clear that the telescope wouldn't be ready for launch in just a few years.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine sent a message to the NASA workforce Wednesday about the report. "It's going to do unbelievable things-things we've never been able to do before-as we peer into other galaxies and see light from the very dawn of time".

The review board issued 32 recommendations, and NASA intends to implement all of them.

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"Congress will have to reauthorize Webb through this next cycle of authorization", NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk said today during a teleconference announcing the reset.

"Webb is a top-priority mission that has great national importance for the agency and it will move forward", Bridenstine said.

What just happened? The highest priority project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate and the largest worldwide space science project in United States history has been delayed for the umpteenth time.

In March, NASA announced that it was delaying launch until 2020. The project's development cost has risen from $8 billion to $8.8 billion, and its total lifecycle price tag now stands at $9.66 billion, they added.

James Webb is a multipurpose observatory that will allow astronomers to study some of the first stars and galaxies in the universe, hunt for possible signs of life in the atmospheres of nearby alien planets, and do a variety of other high-profile work. It was the first update since the agency delayed the launch of telescope into 2020. It will be launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. It will operate from a point 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth, unreachable by astronauts like the low-orbiting Hubble - launched in 1990 with a misshapen mirror - was. Its sunshield, the size of a tennis court once unfurled in space, is needed to keep the infrared telescope cold and is a major risk area, he said. Once the spacecraft element has completed its battery of testing, it will be integrated with the telescope and science instrument element, which passed its tests a year ago.

NASA officials strongly supported going ahead with the telescope, which is in the latter stages of testing and assembly.

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