The launch of the James Webb space telescope, destined to collect the legacy of the most famous of space telescopes, Hubble, has been postponed until December 22nd. The delay is due to a problem that emerged during the integration procedures of the telescope on the last stage of the Ariane 5 rocket that will have to bring it into orbit. This was communicated by a joint announcement by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

The sudden, and at the moment unexplained, opening of a band clamp – reads the press release – would have caused vibrations to the entire telescope during the phases of integration of the instrument to the rocket. Due to this unexpected event, the technicians will now have to investigate the causes and verify that no damage has occurred, a meticulous job that will take at least a few days so that the launch that was scheduled for December 18th will certainly be postponed until no earlier than 22nd.

James Webb is one of the most important scientific missions of recent decades and is now in the European Space Center of Kourou, in French Guiana, from where it will be launched into an orbit 1.5 million kilometers from Earth with an Ariane 5 rocket.


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