Science & Technology

After “Incident” Webb Space Telescope Retested and Confirmed for Launch


James Webb Space Telescope Artist's Impression

The James Webb Space Telescope is a space observatory to see further into the Universe than ever before. It is designed to answer outstanding questions about the Universe and to make breakthrough discoveries in all fields of astronomy. Webb will observe the Universe’s first galaxies, reveal the birth of stars and planets, and look for exoplanets with the potential for life. Closer to home, Webb will also look at our own Solar System in new light. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

Engineering teams have completed additional testing confirming NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is ready for flight, and launch preparations are resuming toward Webb’s target launch date of Wednesday, December 22, at 7:20 a.m. EST.

Additional testing was conducted this week to ensure the observatory’s health following an incident that occurred when the release of a clamp band caused a vibration throughout the observatory.

On Wednesday, Nov. 24, engineering teams completed these tests, and a NASA-led anomaly review board concluded no observatory components were damaged in the incident. A “consent to fuel” review was held, and NASA gave approval to begin fueling the observatory. Fueling operations will begin Thursday, Nov. 25, and will take about 10 days.

The Webb Space Telescope is an international partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies. It will explore every phase of cosmic history – from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe, and everything in between. Webb will reveal new and unexpected discoveries, and help humanity understand the origins of the universe and our place in it.





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