James Webb Space Telescope Launch Postponed – Here’s Why and the New Launch Date

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the next of NASA’s Great Observatories; following in the line of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. JWST combines qualities of two of its predecessors, observing in infrared light, like Spitzer, with fine resolution, like Hubble. Credit: NASA, SkyWorks Digital, Northrop Grumman, STScI

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.


View Comments

  • The more problems they find now will clear up less once launched. Please don;t be in a hurry to launch

  • Your Android website sucks. I tried portfolio as well as landscape. I could not scroll to read the caption on the first picture of the Webb telescope delayed article. The desktop version worked perfectly. Why bother with a mobile version if the desktop version works great? I am an engineer. How can you guys exist with this ineptitude? Make the person responsible get it together.

    • I'm on Android and it looks fine. You must be a trash engineer if you can't configure your android to view web pages. You're the inept one. I hope your boss fires you for being a dumbass.

  • The animation reminds me of Lewis Caroll's rhymes:
    > Twinkle, twinkle, little bat
    > How I wonder what you're at
    > High above the Earth you fly
    > Like tea-tray in the sky

  • Damn Mark, it's just an article. You probably made the author cry with your insensitive remarks over a silly issue. You never make mistakes Mark? Why are you so angry? Do you talk like this to everyone? Jeez Mark. Is it because you are an Engineer Mark? Are you just a better person than everyone else? Hey Mark.... Go sit in a corner.

  • Why be concerned about the beginning of the universe. We would have not existed when you look past 5 billion light years. The Earth is super natural and we should not exist.

  • No need to worry about JWST hitting Santa: Webb launching on time is just a made up story grownups tell to entertain small children. ;-)

  • ^^ what the other guy who's not an engineer said. Chill tf out Mark. Lol.. on another note super excited to watch this launch on Christmas morning. That will be the best gift of the day. Anyone know if they'll be broadcasting telemetry and video feed like SpaceX does?

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