Ariane 5 Rocket aiming 22nd Dec Launch
The much-delayed James Webb Space Telescope is still on track to launch next month, according to NASA.
Webb’s liftoff, atop an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana, is still scheduled for Dec. 22, NASA officials noted in a blog post last week.
Years of technical delays, budgetary concerns, and a pandemic have plagued the $9.8 billion Webb. It also experienced a minor setback earlier this month during the last stages of its launch preparations.
A clamp band that binds Webb to its launch vehicle adapter was recently released unexpectedly, producing vibrations throughout the telescope, NASA announced on Nov. 22. The event necessitated additional investigations, delaying the observatory’s debut from its original target date of December 18.
According to a blog post published last week, specialists have completed additional testing in the aftermath of the event, clearing the way for Webb to debut on December 22.
NASA executing ‘Consent to Fuel’ review
“Engineering teams accomplished tests, including a NASA-led anomaly review board resolute that no observatory elements were hurt in the event,” NASA noted on Nov. 24.
The Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket was then tanked up after NASA and its Webb partners completed a “permission to fuel” review, which was authorized. Fueling began on Nov. 25 and is anticipated to last 10 days now that that milestone has been reached.
After reaching space, Webb’s quest will only begin. Webb will arrive at its objective, a stable gravitational area in space called a Lagrange point, in a month. Webb will spend six months in a commissioning period once it arrives at that location, which is around 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth. This will ensure that the mirror’s complicated pattern unfolds and that all instruments are ready to observe.