While we thought the James-Webb Space Observatory’s program had come to a halt, with the launch scheduled for October 31, the Arion 5 Launcher might not be ready on that date! This is due to discrepancies encountered during the last two missions, which forced Arianspace to suspend flights.
During the February and August 2020 launches, key capsNot nominally separated, Exceeded permissible limit. If it was without fault On satellites deployed in orbit, the Ariangroup, Ruag (which forms the fairies) and Arianspace take this problem very seriously. Since this last launch, Arion 5 has been stabilized on the ground for the duration of the investigation. To date, no return flight date has been reported. Arianspace refused to give a timetable for the next Ariane 5 launch, yet indicating that two flights were planned before launch (JWST).
In anticipation of the launch of James-Webb, this “problem” is clearly a concern and amidst ongoing work in Ruag to understand and fix these issues., We also assess what an unusually high level of vibration can have on the beautiful mechanics of the space observatory and future missions. You should know that due to the size of The primary (6.5 m) of JWST, the latter cannot be made in one piece because no launcher in service can carry such a large mirror. That is why it was decided to design a folding mirror in three sections that would be deployed after the telescope arrives in space! Excessive vibration can damage the deployment mechanism or even deactivate it.
JWST is no longer a few weeks or months behind
It therefore seems certain that it will be difficult to keep the launch date of 31 October and we can expect additional delays, perhaps from a few weeks to a maximum of a few months.
Unlike the missions of planets like Mars, JWST is called a. Not required to launch withinShooting that opens only a few days or weeks in a year (for example every 26 months for March). Aerialspace has nearly daily launch opportunities, at Lagrange point number 2, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, to launch the space observatory in its direction. So missing the date of 31 October is not a problem for the program, especially since it was about 15 years behind the initial schedule – JWST was to be launched in 2007 – we are no longer a few weeks and months.
The current situation is ironic because, for much of the development of JWST, Ariane 5 was considered the least risky aspect of the program, costing approximately $ 10 billion.