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.
Arianespace delayed the launch from French Guiana of a European Ariane 5 rocket with two geostationary communications satellites Friday to conduct more checks of ground support equipment at the spaceport. The mission, set to loft payloads for SES and the French military, is the final Ariane 5 flight before a mission in December with the James Webb Space Telescope.