James Webb Space Telescope news - 2018

James Webb Space Telescope to launch in

Webb's tennis court-sized sunshield. (Credit: NASA)

After evaluating the findings of Webb's independent review board, NASA has established , as the new launch date for the James Webb Space Telescope.

The revised launch schedule accommodates performance challenges experienced during integration and testing of Webb's sunshield and propulsion system. More time is also needed to verify the integrity of the spacecraft element, join it to the telescope element, and perform environmental testing on the assembled observatory. 

Rigorous evaluation of each part of Webb is crucial to mission success. When it is launched from French Guiana, the telescope will be folded inside the nose of an Ariane 5 rocket and subjected to high levels of vibration and noise. All of its sensitive components must be able to withstand launch and the harsh conditions of space.

The Canadian Space Agency continues to support the development of NASA's most ambitious and complex space observatory ever built. With the help of Canadian instruments, Webb will enable world-class science that sheds light on the most profound mysteries of our universe.

New launch window for the James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope

Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

In light of the results of an independent assessment, Webb's launch window has now been set for approximately . It was determined that more time would be required for rigorous testing and assembly of the observatory.

In early , the telescope element, which contains two Canadian instruments, was shipped to California to be joined to the spacecraft element. While these elements have been tested individually, the new window will allow more time for the fully assembled space observatory to be put through its paces.

Once its two major elements are united, Webb will be tested as a whole, to verify that the 6,100-kg telescope can withstand the vibrational, acoustic, and thermal conditions it will face during launch and operation.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is providing the Ariane 5 rocket that will deliver Webb to space. In the coming months, NASA and ESA will collaborate to decide upon a new launch readiness date.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is proud to be part of this important project et will continue to support its partners during these critical tests. Thanks to the CSA's participation in the Webb telescope Canadian astronomers will have access to observation time for unique astronomy research.

OTIS arrives in California for Webb's final assembly

Credit: NASA

On February 2, Webb's Optical Telescope and Integrated Science (OTIS) module arrived at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.

Shipping OTIS to the aerospace company was no easy task. NASA engineers carefully packed the telescope and instrument segment into a massive shipping pallet and loaded it into the cargo hold of the US military's largest transport aircraft.

OTIS includes two Canadian instruments, the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) and the Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS). The module will soon be joined to the spacecraft element. Uniting these parts is the final step before the fully assembled space telescope undergoes its last sequence of launch simulation tests, which should wrap up in winter .

Webb, an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, will be the most powerful telescope ever built. It is set to launch into space aboard an Ariane 5 rocket in spring .

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