NASA has many launched planned for the coming few years. This includes the launch and setup of the James Webb space telescope. However, due to several delays, the NASA James Webb telescope launch has been pushed back for another seven months. The liftoff is now expected on October 31, 2021.
NASA James Webb Telescope Launch
Originally, the James Webb telescope was scheduled to liftoff on March 2021. NASA officials announced various technical difficulties and complications due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a cause of delay.
“Webb is the world’s most complex space observatory and our top science priority, and we’ve worked hard to keep progress moving during the pandemic,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in a statement. He further added that the team is continuing the work to find technical solutions that will see through the launch date next year.
This isn’t the first time we’re hearing a launch delay. Zurbuchen had earlier noted that there would be a delay in the launch with the pandemic. Plus, the James Webb telescope has run in many cost overruns and schedule delays since the project began. Since the mission began in 2009, the estimated cost has nearly doubled, and its launch date has been pushed back by about seven years.
At the same time, the new delay is quite understandable. The coronavirus pandemic has forced many NASA centers to impose mandatory work-from-home orders. For now, the risk-reduction work on the James Webb telescope will take up a few more months, including the observatory’s huge, foldable sun shield.
Even with the new delay, NASA has promised that it won’t increase the mission’s overall budget. “Based on current projections, the program expects to complete the remaining work within the new schedule without requiring additional funds,” Gregory Robinson, NASA Webb program director at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., said in the same statement.
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