Technicians at a jungle spaceport in South America are completing tests on the James Webb Space Telescope Thursday to make sure they fixed a “finicky” communications interface glitch that halted launch preparations earlier this week. NASA and European officials will confirm the mission’s target launch date — currently penciled in for no earlier than Dec. 24 — as soon as Friday.
Engineers discovered an intermittent data dropout associated with a piece of ground support equipment after connecting the James Webb Space Telescope with its Ariane 5 launcher over the weekend in French Guiana. The observatory’s long-awaited blastoff will be delayed at least two days to Dec. 24 to troubleshoot the problem, the head of NASA’s science division said Tuesday.
A European Ariane 5 rocket fired into space Saturday night from French Guiana with a commercial broadband satellite for SES and a French military telecom craft, setting a new payload mass record for geostationary transfer orbit on the final Ariane 5 flight before launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in December.
A European Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the Guiana Space Center in South America at 10:10 p.m. EDT Saturday (0210 GMT Sunday). The mission, the last Ariane 5 flight before launch with the James Webb Space Telescope, deployed the commercial SES 17 telecom satellite and the French military’s Syracuse 4A communications payload.