Technical problems discovered during ground testing of U.S.-built detectors for the European Space Agency’s Euclid astronomy mission will delay the completion of the telescope’s scientific payload, jeopardizing the observatory’s 2020 launch target, the head of NASA’s astrophysics division said last week.
Josef Aschbacher, head of ESA’s Earth observation programs, recently spoke with Spaceflight Now about the importance of the Sentinel 5P satellite mission designed for air quality measurements from space, and discussed increasing data usage from Europe’s Copernicus environmental network, and plans to expand the flagship Earth observation fleet.
A modified Russian missile built for nuclear war blasted off on a peaceful mission Friday, targeting placement of a European Earth observation satellite in orbit to measure atmospheric chemistry and global air quality. Liftoff from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia occurred at 0927 GMT (5:27 a.m. EDT).
Extra testing of the James Webb Space Telescope and delays in assembling the powerful observatory will push back the $10 billion mission’s launch by at least six months to early 2019, officials announced last week as the telescope successfully completed an extensive performance test inside a cryogenic vacuum chamber in Houston.