NASA has pushed the planned launch of the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope from October 2018 to the spring of 2019, citing spacecraft-integration issues.
"Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected." [Photos: Hubble's Successor, the James Webb Space Telescope] Such precise infrared observations are possible only if James Webb is kept extremely cold.
The combination of some integration activities taking longer than initially planned, such as the installation of more than 100 sunshield membrane release devices, factoring in lessons learned from earlier testing, like longer time spans for vibration testing, has meant the integration and testing process is just taking longer," said Eric Smith, James Webb Space Telescope program director at NASA headquarters, in the same statement.
"Considering the investment NASA has made, and the good performance to date, we want to proceed very systematically through these tests to be ready for a spring 2019 launch." James Webb will lift off atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the European spaceport near Kourou, in French Guiana.
in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.