NASA has announced that it has delayed the James Webb Space Telescope launch after an independent review board unanimously recommended that the development work on the new telescope should continue. In light of the recommendation, NASA has decided to delay the launch of its next major telescope to 2021. For those who are unaware, the James Webb Space Telescope is the successor to NASA’s famous Hubble Telescope.
This isn’t the first time that the James Webb Space Telescope launch has been delayed. Technical issues have forced the agency to delay the launch in the past as well. It was reported earlier this year in March that some problems still existed and that fixing them would mean that the early 2019 launch timeline wouldn’t be met.
It is absolutely crucial to resolve every technical issue, no matter how insignificant, because once it’s up in space, there won’t be any real options to perform repairs. Northrop Grumman, the contractor for this telescope, has its teams working around the clock to complete the work.
The review board’s report mentions that the latest launch delay is because of anomalies in a recent acoustics test which resulted in screws and washers coming loose. Northrop Grumman now needs additional time to identify what went wrong and fix the issue.
NASA is now aiming to launch the James Webb Space Telescope on March 20th, 2021.