Space, technical problem is holding back the launch of the Webb super telescope

Esa experts: “99% hitch easy to solve but everything must be checked before the flight”. New date in days but looking to after December 24th

A technical problem “99% due to a connection, to an interface, therefore a problem that is easy to solve”, is slowing the launch of the new European super space telescope James Webb, intended to ‘replace’ the old Hubble in the observation of the Universe. Initially scheduled for December 22, the launch of Webb “is now scheduled for December 24“clarified the ESA Flight Program Manager, Stefano Bianchi, during a conference – which was also attended by the Project Scientist of the James Webb Esa space telescope, Antonella Nota, and the head of the development of the scientific operations of the telescope James Webb Esa, Marco Sirianni The press conference was organized by the European Space Agency in view of the launch of Webb to take stock of this extraordinary mission that promises to unravel new mysteries of the Universe.

However, Bianchi reported that the launch has slowed down because “unfortunately it was discovered yesterday that in the data transmission through launcher, data coming from some satellite instruments, in particular communication instruments, there are data drops: data is lost. “ “Obviously – he explained – it is necessary to understand where the problem comes from, which, at 99%, is linked to a connection, to an interface and therefore” is a problem “of easy resolution”. However, “it is necessary to understand if it is not a problem related to the satellite instruments because – continued the head of the Flight Programs of ESA – if there was instead a problem with the communication systems, which transmit data and receive data, it would be very serious and therefore the problem must be solved before leaving “. “First the NASA technicians must solve the data problem and then the new launch date will be set” explained Bianchi.

But the ESA experts are very confident and above all they have not underlined at the moment any ‘red alert’ notes and the countdown has begun for a mission that is expected to start on December 24th. “in the next few days we will know the new date” explained Bianchi. Marco Sirianni also assured: “I have been working on Webb since 20008, a few days late we accept it without any worries”. “The important thing – he said – is to be sure that at the time of launch the problems are all solved”. Also for Antonella Nota we should not be surprised by the hitch. “These ambitious projects – observed the ESA scientist – take time and it is normal for a project of this complexity which, from the moment the idea is in place to the day of launch, takes 20 to 25 years” . “Even for Hubble it was like this and, in short, one day late is normal”, noted Nota.

Meanwhile, the perception of scientists on the work that the James Webb super space telescope will be able to achieve once launched into space emerges very strong. “Webb will make discoveries that maybe we don’t even expect” and the European Space Agency “has invested a lot of work to anticipate to the general public what Webb will see and what discoveries are expected. There are so many activities and the public will be taken by the hand,” said Antonella Nota. And if the ‘old’ Hubble Space Telescope – launched in 1990 – led the way, Nota stressed that the new James Webb telescope “will continue to enrich science around the world” because these observers have contributed to the democratization of science“since” anyone – in the international astronomical community – can make an observation proposal “using this extraordinary instrument. Note also reported that “the first cycle of observation is already fully distributed”, the research and observation projects that can be carried out with Webb are already all assigned but, “with the right motivation, the request to use Webb is truly open to all “and the data” will be opened and published immediately “.

“What will be discovered with James Webb will make entire generations of scholars dream“finally said the head of the Flight Programs of the ESA, Stefano Bianchi.