“Anomalous readings” detected during testing of Webb telescope


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During standard vibration testing to simulate launch, engineers have detected what they call “anomalous readings” in the James Webb Space Telescope.

During the vibration testing on December 3, at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, accelerometers attached to the telescope detected anomalous readings during a particular test. Further tests to identify the source of the anomaly are underway. The engineering team investigating the vibe anomaly has made numerous detailed visual inspections of the Webb telescope and has found no visible signs of damage.

It is a good sign that they have found no damage. It is also a good thing that they detected these issues now, on the ground, where they can fix them. Webb, almost a decade behind schedule and $8 billion over budget, will be placed at a point a million miles from Earth, where no repair crew will be able to reach it.

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