(ORDO NEWS) — Dangerous winds have caused the planned launch date of NASA’s newest space telescope to shift at least one day ahead, and now the telescope will go into space on the coming Saturday, December 25 – that is, on Christmas itself!
NASA last announced a launch delay last Tuesday. Strong winds high in the atmosphere could cause the rocket to deviate from its intended course, damage it, or even destroy it.
The James Webb Space Telescope will be sent into space from the European launch site in French Guiana, on the northeastern coast of South America, aboard the Ariane launch vehicle. Launch managers will meet again on Wednesday to assess weather conditions.
The $ 10 billion infrared observatory is believed to be the scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been in orbit since 1990.
At a news conference on Tuesday, NASA officials said the rocket and telescope were in good condition and the only unresolved, albeit not critical, problem was the unreliable connection between them.
This problem previously led to the postponement of the launch two days ahead; a problem with the telescope’s metal mounting element that came off, which caused a powerful shock at the launch site, led to the postponement of the launch date by another four days.
These delays in the final days before launch appear to be the latest in a long line of transfers and budget spikes for the Webb mission, the largest and most powerful observatory ever sent into space.
NASA is collaborating with the European and Canadian Space Agencies on this project.
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