NASA and Arianespace successfully completed the Launch Readiness Review for the James Webb Space Telescope on December 21. The team authorized the Ariane 5 rocket carrying Webb to rollout and the start of launch sequencing for the mission.
Additionally, Webb teams recently completed a comprehensive day of launch rehearsal that involved a joint effort between launch site crews in French Guiana, and Webb’s Mission Operations Center (MOC) at the Space Telescope and Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. The various teams involved with launching Webb are all standing at the ready, and have practiced each step routinely.
Next, the Ariane 5 rocket — with Webb safely encapsulated on top — is planned to begin the nearly two hour process of rolling out to the launch pad on December 22.
However, due to adverse weather conditions at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, the flight VA256 to launch Webb – initially scheduled for December 24 – is being postponed.
The new targeted launch date is December 25, as early as possible within the following launch window:
- Between 7:20 a.m. and 7:52 a.m. Washington
- Between 9:20 a.m. and 9:52 a.m. Kourou
- Between 12:20 p.m. and 12:52 p.m. Universal (UTC)
- Between 1:20 p.m. and 1:52 p.m. Paris
- Between 9:20 p.m. and 9:52 p.m. Tokyo
This evening (December 22), another weather forecast will be issued in order to confirm the date of December 25. The Ariane 5 launch vehicle and Webb are in stable and safe conditions in the Final Assembly Building.