• search
For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

NASA delays launch of world’s most powerful space telescope to 2019

By Pti

Washington, Sep 29: NASA has pushed the planned launch of its USD 8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope from October 2018 to the spring of 2019, citing spacecraft- integration issues.

NASA delays launch of James Webb Space Telescope to 2019

The successor to the famed Hubble Space Telescope, Webb will now launch between March and June 2019 from French Guiana, following a schedule assessment of the remaining integration and test activities, NASA said. The telescope will be the world's most powerful space telescope ever built, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide, according to the US space agency.

The 6.5-metre diameter infrared-optimised telescope is designed to study an extremely wide range of astrophysical phenomena, including the first stars and galaxies that formed, the atmospheres of nearby planets outside our solar system, and objects within our own solar system.

"The change in launch timing is not indicative of hardware or technical performance concerns," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected," said Zurbuchen. As part of an international agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide a desired launch window one year prior to launch, NASA recently performed a routine schedule assessment to ensure launch preparedness and determined a launch schedule change was necessary. The spacecraft itself, comprised of the spacecraft bus and Sun-shield, has experienced delays during its integration and testing.

The additional environmental testing time of the fully assembled observatory - the telescope and the spacecraft - will ensure that Webb will be fully tested before launching into space, NASA said. All the rigorous tests of the telescope and the spacecraft to date show the mission is meeting its required performance levels, it said. Existing programme budget accommodates the change in launch date, and the change will not affect planned science observations.

"Webb's spacecraft and Sun-shield are larger and more complex than most spacecraft," said Eric Smith, programme director for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA. "The combination of some integration activities taking longer than initially planned, such as the installation of more than 100 Sun-shield membrane release devices, has meant the integration and testing process is just taking longer," said Smith.

"Considering the investment NASA has made, and the good performance to date, we want to proceed very systemmatically through these tests to be ready for a Spring 2019 launch," he said. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.


For Daily Alerts

For Breaking News from Oneindia
Get instant news updates throughout the day.

Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more