The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, as you probably know, was scheduled for December 18. Unfortunately, as a result of a small incident during the assembly of the telescope to a rocket that would launch it into space, this date was postponed.
Fortunately, only 4 days. The current date of the planned start is December 22, 2021. Looking at it from the perspective of the previous adventures related to JWST, it is actually a breeze. Let us recall that the first works related to the construction of the new telescope began in 1996 and according to the original plan, the telescope was to be placed in our orbit in 2007.
However, due to its very sensitive and complex design, this plan was completely abandoned, and the device was not fully assembled until 2019. On top of that, there were problems related to the global health crisis and … we have just reached 2021.
James Webb Space Telescope – Why is this delay?
NASA representatives reassure you that this is not a serious event. Nevertheless, they want to investigate them. It is about unfastening one of the clamps securing the telescope to the Ariane 5 rocket. The agency wants to find out what caused the clamp to open and check whether any of the elements of the telescope have not been damaged as a result of this situation.
NASA cannot afford any of the mistakes of this mission. If the telescope vibrates too much during take-off or if the mechanism responsible for unfolding the telescope when it hits Earth’s orbit does not work, the entire project can be properly written off. And with it, billions of dollars spent on building a telescope.
Also read: How to map the universe? Meet the COSMOS-Webb program
But let’s hope that everything goes according to plan. Admittedly, the James Webb Telescope is a telescope designed mainly to operate in infrared light, but its activation should take some pressure off the already worn Hubble Telescope. The next step in terms of our space imaging capabilities will be the launch of the ATLAST telescope, but we will have to wait a little longer for that. For now, let’s keep our fingers crossed for the successful start of JWST.