The decision to conduct unscheduled testing of the components of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was made after the event on November 9 this year. while consolidating the load with the adapter that keeps the transported instrument on top of the rocket. The fact that the clamp that held the telescope in a safe position was suddenly released in the facility belonging to the Kourou cosmodrome in French Guiana was publicly announced almost two weeks after the incident – on November 22.
In light of the circumstances of the incident known to NASA, a team of specialists was appointed to assess its effects and conduct additional JWST tests to verify that the system’s target parameters were not violated. At the same time, a message was announced about the forced postponement of the launch of this important, long-term mission – originally scheduled for December 18 this year. This shift was determined at the level of 4 days (setting the new start date on December 22 this year).
Soon, however, the American space agency announced that the tests carried out did not reveal any signs of damage to the components and the electro-optical system of the JWST. Details on the scope of the review and control activities were not provided.
The James Webb Space Telescope is on track for a launch date of Dec. 22.
Additional testing, which was conducted due to an incident in launch preparations, concluded no observatory components were damaged. Observatory fueling operations begin on Nov. 25: https://t.co/3E4UopkVZG pic.twitter.com/aPZJPIBtCQ
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) November 25, 2021
The James Webb Space Telescope was therefore considered ready to move to the next stage of pre-launch preparations – filling with the necessary fuel, which was carried out in the last week of November. After refueling, Webb was sent to the final assembly hall at the cosmodrome in French Guiana, waiting to be lifted to the top of the Ariane 5 carrier by crane.
JWST has been at its launch site since October 12 this year. The telescope arrived there on board the MN Colibri, sailing to French Guiana via the Panama Canal from NASA’s California laboratory. During a long and demanding journey, the instrument was carefully secured in a special container STTARS (Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road and Sea).
The expectations regarding the mission of the James Webb Space Telescope are very high. Scientists hope that the instrument will contribute to shifting the next frontiers of human cognition in terms of knowledge of the laws and history of the Universe’s development – becoming in this respect a worthy “successor” to the Hubble Telescope. The project is implemented by NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).