The much-anticipated launch has been plagued with several delays, initially targeting a launch on 18 December.
“Due to adverse weather conditions at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, the flight VA256 to launch Webb – initially scheduled for Dec. 24 – is being postponed,” the agency said.
Webb will be the most powerful telescope ever made and is seen as the spiritual successor of the legendary Hubble.
The project began in 1989 and was due to launch two decades ago before a series of problems saw its original budget triple and delays kick in.
It is a US$10 billion joint project between NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and French launch provider Arianespace.
Its mission – dubbed VA256 – has been in the making for 14 years and it’s hoped Webb will be able to reveal what the universe looked like 14 billion years ago.
Webb will be placed on an Ariane 5 rocket and will lift off from Europe’s Spaceport during the 32-minute launch window, beginning at 7:20am EST in Kourou, French Guiana.
NASA and Arianespace completed the Launch Readiness Review for the telescope on 21 December, and the team authorised the rocket carrying Webb to roll out and start the sequencing of the mission.
This will mark the 14th launch for Arianespace this year, and the fifth for the rocket.
It suffered a technical glitch in late November, seeing an unplanned release of a clamp band causing vibration throughout the Webb observatory.
NASA said the clamp band secures the Webb telescope to the vehicle adaptor, while the vehicle adaptor is crucial to integrate the telescope with the upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket for its launch.
Bella Richards is a journalist who has written for several local newspapers, her university newspaper and a tech magazine, and completed her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2020. She joined Momentum Media in 2021, and has since written breaking news stories across Space Connect, Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.
You can email Bella on: [email protected]
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