James Webb Telescope Launch Not Happening Until October 2021

How the James Webb telescope is supposed to work 9 photos
Photo: NASA
In March next year, NASA was scheduled to launch a new telescope into space. Called James Webb, after the name of one of the space agency’s former administrators, it is described as “the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built and launched into space.”
Due to a variety of factors that are both technical in nature, but also related to the ongoing health crisis, the launch has been now pushed back even further, all the way to October 31, 2021.

The health crisis, with all the lockdowns and other safety measures that came with it, impacted the testing capability of the crews working on the telescope. Also, the reduced number of personnel working on it make the launch impossible to take place in March 2021.

“Based on current projections, the program expects to complete the remaining work within the new schedule without requiring additional funds,” said in a statement Gregory Robinson, NASA Webb program director at the agency’s headquarters.

“Although efficiency has been affected and there are challenges ahead, we have retired significant risk through the achievements and good schedule performance over the past year. After resuming full operations to prepare for upcoming final observatory system-level environmental testing this summer, major progress continues towards preparing this highly complex observatory for launch.”

So, what’s so special about this new telescope. Well, everything, considering how it should fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe – those are NASA’s words.

Designed as an evolution of the Hubble space telescope, James Webb has a mass roughly half that of Hubble, but packs a 6.5 meters/21.3 feet diameter mirror, which is six times larger than Hubble’s. Unlike its older sibling, James Webb will be able to see in the infrared part of the spectrum, and because it will be placed on an orbit further away, it may unlock previously unconceived secrets,

Some of its main goals are to look so deep into the Universe as to see the light coming from the first stars ever to be formed after the Big Bang, and even look at planetary systems and find signs of life, if any.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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