There’s some bad news for those who have been following NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope project. It’s the successor to the Hubble telescope that has been at the center of many a discovery up in space. It’s going to be 100x more powerful than the Hubble. NASA was previously planning to launch the telescope between March and June 2019 but it has confirmed today that the James Webb Space Telescope launch has now been delayed.
NASA sent out a press release today confirming that the James Webb Space Telescope is currently undergoing final integration and test phases which need more time to ensure that the mission will be successful.
An independent assessment of remaining tasks for this highly complex project has revealed that the previous launch window of 2019 cannot be met which is why NASA is delaying the launch to May 2020.
This is an important year for the project as the telescope and science payload element will be joined with the spacecraft element to form the complete observatory. The spacecraft element has a “tennis-court-sized” sunshield that has been designed by Northrop Grumman.
“All the observatory’s flight hardware is now complete, however, the issues brought to light with the spacecraft element are prompting us to take the necessary steps to refocus our efforts on the completion of this ambitious and complex observatory,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot.
The agency adds that the telescope and spacecraft components individually meet their requirements but recent findings from the project’s Standing Review Board suggest that more time is required to integrate and test these components together. This will be followed by environmental testing at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California.