Posts: 14,059 +153
The big picture: NASA said in a recent update that adverse weather conditions at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana have prompted them to postpone the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Originally slated to take flight on December 24, the world’s largest space telescope will now shoot for a Christmas Day launch. When you're already several years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, what’s an extra day going to hurt?
If you’re in the states and want to watch the launch live, you’ll likely need to set an alarm. The new target launch window is between 12:20 p.m. and 12:52 p.m. Universal (UTC), which works out to 7:20 a.m. Eastern / 4:20 a.m. Pacific.
NASA and Arianespace said they’ve successfully completed the launch readiness review for the telescope, and have authorized the Ariane 5 to rollout and the start of launch sequencing. Another weather forecast will be issued this evening to determine if December 25 seems feasible or if another delay will be necessary.
NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) earlier this year announced the selection of the general observer programs for the scope’s first year of operation, known as Cycle 1. Approximately 6,000 hours of observing time were made available, with scientists from 44 countries applying for time.
For those curious, the full list of general observer programs selected is available online for further examination. Early targets include several objects in our own solar system as well as exoplanets and looks at distant galaxies.