The long-delayed space telescope should finally be heading into space before the year is out.
For more than a decade, the telescope – which will provide unprecedented views of the cosmos – has been beset by delay after delay due to everything from construction issues to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many to wonder whether it would ever actually make it into space at all.
Now at last, however, it looks as though the James Webb Space Telescope will finally be making its way to the final frontier on December 18th of this year – almost a quarter of a century after development began and a staggering 14 years after its original launch estimate.
Once it does launch, the telescope will be capable of peering across the cosmos and, among other things, determining the potential habitability of planets around distant stars.
According to NASA, the telescope is now resting in its final stow configuration at Northrop Grumman\’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California.
It will ride into space aboard an Ariane 5 rocket provided by the European Space Agency.
“Webb is an exemplary mission that signifies the epitome of perseverance,” said program director Gregory L. Robinson.
“I am inspired by our dedicated team and our global partnerships that have made this incredible endeavor possible. Together, we\’ve overcome technical obstacles along the way as well as challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.”
“I also am grateful for the steadfast support of Congress. Now that we have an observatory and a rocket ready for launch, I am looking forward to the big day and the amazing science to come.”