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NASA delays launch of next-gen space telescope until 2020

NASA is now targeting May 2020 for the launch of its James Webb Space Telescope, the $8 billion dollar Hubble successor

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NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Develop First Gateway Element
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NASA is now targeting May 2020 for the launch of its James Webb Space Telescope, the $8 billion dollar Hubble successor. The announcement on Tuesday made after an independent assessment of remaining tasks for the highly complex space observatory further pushes the launch target of the next-generation space telescope by about a year.

“Webb is the highest priority project for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate, and the largest international space science project in US history,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot.

ISS is a permanent base for astronauts stationed in the outer sky. Wikimedia Commons
The next-gen space telescope will now be released in 2020. Wikimedia Commons

“All the observatory’s flight hardware is now complete, however, the issues brought to light with the spacecraft element are prompting us to take the necessary steps to refocus our efforts on the completion of this ambitious and complex observatory,” Lightfoot said.

Testing the hardware on the observatory’s telescope element and spacecraft element demonstrate that these systems individually meet their requirements. However, recent findings from the project’s Standing Review Board (SRB) indicate more time is needed to test and integrate these components together and then perform environmental testing at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, the project’s observatory contractor.

Also Read: NASA’s instrument to measure Sun’s energy

NASA said it is also establishing an external Independent Review Board (IRB), chaired by Thomas Young, a highly respected NASA and industry veteran who is often called on to chair advisory committees and analyse organisational and technical issues.

NASA will consider the findings and recommendations of both the boards’ findings for defining a more specific launch time frame. The US space agency will then provide its assessment in a report to Congress this summer.

Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. NASA will work with its partner, ESA, on a new launch readiness date for the Ariane 5 vehicle that will launch Webb into space.

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NASA will research more before working on the telescope. IANS

ESA is providing the Ariane 5 as part of its scientific collaboration. Once a new launch readiness date is determined, NASA said it will provide a cost estimate that may exceed the projected $8 billion development cost to complete the final phase of testing and prepare for launch.

Additional steps to address project challenges include increasing NASA engineering oversight, personnel changes, and new management reporting structures. “Considering the investment NASA and our international partners have made, we want to proceed systematically through these last tests, with the additional time necessary, to be ready for a May 2020 launch,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. IANS

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Emmy Awards 2018: NASA Nominated for Stunning Footage of Cassini voyage to Saturn

The Emmy Awards nominations have turned out to be more diverse than last year

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The Primetime Emmys will be awarded by the ATAS in Los Angeles on September 17.
The Primetime Emmys will be awarded by the ATAS in Los Angeles on September 17. Flickr

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) has nominated NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for Outstanding Original Interactive Program for its coverage of the Cassini mission’s Grand Finale at Saturn.

The Primetime Emmys will be awarded by the ATAS in Los Angeles on September 17.

The Creative Arts Emmys, which include interactive awards, will be presented during a separate ceremony on September 15 at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, NASA said in a statement on Friday.

In 2017, after nearly 20 years in space and 13 years revealing the wonders of Saturn, NASA’s Cassini orbiter was running out of fuel. As a final act, Cassini began a whole new mission — its Grand Finale, where it journeyed into the unknown and ended with a spectacular plunge into the planet.

Cassini’s first, daring dive into the unexplored space between the giant planet and its rings kicked off the campaign on April 26 in 2017.

NASA's stunning footage of Cassini lands Emmy nomination
NASA’s stunning footage of Cassini lands Emmy nomination. Pixabay

It culminated on September 15, 2017, with live coverage of Cassini’s plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere, with the spacecraft sending back science to the very last second.

JPL created a multi-month digital campaign to celebrate the mission’s science and engineering accomplishments and communicate why the spacecraft must meet its end in the skies of Saturn.

The multi-faceted campaign included regular updates on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and the Cassini mission website, multiple live social, web and TV broadcasts during which reporter and public questions were answered.

Also Read: NASA Juno Data Indicate Another Possible Volcano on Jupiter Moon Io

A dramatic short film to communicate the mission’s story and preview its endgame; multiple 360-degree videos, including NASA’s first 360-degree livestream of a mission event from inside JPL mission control.

The Emmy Awards nominations have turned out to be more diverse than last year. Fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” has earned 22 nominations for the coveted Awards, while HBO’s 17-year streak as the most nominated network has been broken by Netflix. (IANS)