The Webb telescope was not damaged after a recent incident, NASA says

An archival image from February 2021 showing technician Northrop Grumman inspecting the overlap and packaging of the Webb Space Telescope sun visor.

A incident handling which caused the tremor of the entire Webb space telescope did not cause any significant damage to the observatory, a NASA-led investigation concluded.

“Engineering teams have completed additional testing to confirm that NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is ready for flight,” NASA explained in statement.

That’s a big relief. This means that preparations for the launch can continue as planned, and the launch is now scheduled for Wednesday, December 22 at 7:20 AM (4:30 PM). The launch of the next generation space telescope was originally scheduled for December 18, but a frightening incident at a satellite preparation plant in Kourou, French Guiana, resulted in a four-day delay. Private contractor Arianespace is managing the launch for NASA.

Conceptual image showing the Webb space telescope during launch.

Conceptual image showing the Webb space telescope during launch.
Picture: ESA / D. Ducros

The incident occurred as technicians were preparing to mount the telescope on the launcher adapter – the physical structure that connects the Web to the upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket. vibration throughout the observatory “, according to at NASA.

The event was worrying enough that NASA decided to convene an anomaly review committee to determine if Webb had suffered any damage as a result of the quake. The engineering teams completed their tests on November 24, finding nothing wrong at the observatory. This enabled “consent to the fuel session”, during which NASA gave its approval. Refueling The observatory is scheduled to begin on November 25, in a process that is expected to take about 10 days.

The Webb Space Telescope is an international project involving NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency. Like most complex and powerful A space telescope ever made, the Web will make unprecedented observations of the solar system, the Milky Way, and the universe. The project has been disrupted by a number of delays and cost overruns, but Webb seems to be finally on track to make his long-awaited exit from Earth – at least until the next bad thing happens.

More: A new image from Curiosity reminds us that Mars is truly a beautiful place.

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