NASA delayed the launch of its high-powered James Webb Space Telescope from October to December as it is yet to be shipped to its launch site.
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) announced in a statement that the launch program for Webb will be ready on Dec. 18.
Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation, said that the agencies are on track and are busy preparing for Webb’s arrival from California to its launch site in French Guiana.
“The Ariane 5 elements for this launch are coming together,” Neuenschwander said, referring to the rocket that will fly Webb to space.
The telescope’s recent launch date was on Oct. 31, but Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, confirmed on June that the timeline would be adjusted to the end of the year.
The observatory has not yet been shipped to French Guiana and it needs about 10 weeks from ship out to be fully prepared for launch.
NASA described the Webb telescope as “the premier deep space observatory for the next decade.”
The observatory was designed to probe into the history of the cosmos — the first light in the universe, the early assembly of galaxies, and the birth of celestial objects.
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