In a briefing held yesterday, NASA officials — in summarizing the status of the James Webb Space Telescope — stated they were presently confident that its launch will take place in October this year, as presently planned.
[Eric Smith, JWST program scientist> said the program is dealing with one new technical issue. Two communications transponders suffered separate problems during testing in January. Engineers have tracked down the problems with the two units and started repairs this week. “Those boxes will be back in time for us to make our planned shipping date,” he said.
That issue, he acknowledged, will use some of the remaining schedule margin. “The plan right now is that we’ll get them back in time so that we don’t have to use all of it,” he said. “That’s the main thing that we’re watching regarding the margin.”
If launched in October, Webb will only be a decade behind schedule and a mere 20 times over budget, having been initially proposed to launch in 2011 for a cost of $500 million. Instead, it will cost about $10 billion.
The article also notes that the Biden administration might change the telescope’s name because Webb as a bureaucrat early in his career apparently publicly opposed homosexual rights. Such opinions can no longer be allowed, and anyone who has them must be blackballed as quickly as possible.
No matter. Webb was merely NASA’s administrator through almost its entire first decade, leading the agency in its triumph over the Soviets in the race to the Moon. Such achievements cannot be honored as they illustrate the past greatness of America. Moreover, Webb was a white man, and this makes him totally unqualified to receive any laurels. Today’s modern America hates itself and all white men.
The article also notes a variety of issues that will cause more delays of the new big astronomy boondoggle at NASA, the Roman Space Telescope. They say its launch will likely be delayed to 2026 because of the Wuhan flu panic. I predict this is only a foretaste. Expect many more delays and budget overruns, probably pushing its launch into the 2030s.
But no matter. What is really important is that this new boondoggle is named for a woman!
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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