NASA schedules James Webb telescope launch for Dec 18text_fields
Washington: NASA has confirmed plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit on December 18, 2021.
The agency set the new target launch date in coordination with Arianespace after Webb recently and successfully completed its rigorous testing regimen -- a major turning point for the mission, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Webb is an exemplary mission that signifies the epitome of perseverance," said Gregory L. Robinson, Webb's programme director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
"We've overcome technical obstacles along the way as well as challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Now that we have an observatory and a rocket ready for launch, I am looking forward to the big day and the amazing science to come," he added.
The highly complex space telescope is currently resting in its final stow configuration at Northrop Grumman's facilities in Redondo Beach, California.
Webb, an international programme led by NASA with its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency, was first targeted to launch in March this year. It was later pushed back to October due to impacts from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as well as technical challenges.
The Webb team is preparing for shipment operations, during which the observatory will undergo final closeout procedures and packing for its journey to the launch site. The major elements of the Ariane 5 rocket that will carry Webb into space have safely arrived in Kourou, French Guiana, from Europe, NASA said.
Webb, will launch on an Ariane 5 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on the northeastern coast of South America. ESA is providing the Ariane 5, NASA added.