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NASA confident Webb will launch in October

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!

Pioneer cover

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.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

11 comments

  • Ray Van Dune

    Let’s take a look at some of Biden’s early positions on social issues, and consider whether we might want to change the name of the President.

  • Col Beausabre

    You mean like “Lying senile blankety-blank”

    Another campaign to organize !

  • Lee Stevenson

    You really have a gift for keeping me with you until your final sentence Bob!! I agree with you that our hero’s have to be viewed thru the lens of history, and the time they lived. It would have been career finishing to be pro-homosexual rights and working for the US government in the 60’s. Churchill is currently getting the same treatment in the UK….. Yes he made some terrible policy decisions, of which many died, but he was also the architect of preventing us all over here speaking German. ( And yes, I am aware of the US’s involvement, sorry you were late, but glad you could come!). It is the great things that were achieved that should be celebrated, along with acknowledging that the people who achieved them were human. The thing is, Womens contributions to science were terribly understated for over a century. It has only been in the last 3 or 4 decades that these scientists have been recognised for their achievements, and for this I think you don’t have to be a pinko commie leftist like myself to think some redress would be nice…. Your final sentence implies this is a bad thing. And surely the only important thing is that they somehow manage to haul the bloody thing up and get it working in our lifetimes!!!

  • Lee Stevenson

    ( I’m now in my trench wearing my standard issue left wing commie tin hat, awaiting a barrage of rants regarding how I am the problem here, and a bunch of YouTube videos I will never watch) ;-) have a nice weekend guys and gals!

  • wayne

    Lee-
    No videos for you this time.
    (You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. ((something like that…)) )

    — I do have a question (and excuse if you’ve already answered somewhere):
    In which Country are you a Citizen? (or is there some weird [‘progressive,’ as we say in the States] european-union thing’ where border’s don’t count anymore, and everyone is a citizen of the european-union?)

  • David Telford

    I didn’t know Roman was a woman, so I’ll study that matter and become better educated. Understand the frustration brought by the PC norms where bend-over-backward accommodations lead to absurdities like Presidents winning grand prizes for no particular effort at all. It makes cynics of us. So, before I came to know that Roman was a person, I just wondered if we jumped the shark, and named this new project after a failed, grand enterprise of 2100 years ago.

  • John

    Heck no, there were slaves in Rome! Are they stoopid?

  • Dave Telford: If you want to know who Nancy Roman was, the best thing to read is my own book, The Universe in a Mirror. As it is focused on the history of the people who made Hubble possible, and she was one of these individuals, I spent a lot of time telling her story.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @wayne, I am currently a citizen of the United Kingdom, and I currently own an EU valid passport from the UK, however it runs out in less than 2 years, at which point I shall apply for dual citizenship with Sweden, and apply for dual citizenship with the kids with the UK… If only for less hassle when traveling. I am a resident of Sweden, and have the right to, and to do pretty much anything apart from vote in governmental elections. I still consider myself English, although having paid Swedish taxes for almost 20 years now it is probably about time I put my name on the list and became Swedish…. The only reason for my delay is procrastination!

  • mkent

    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.

    As you point out, James Webb led NASA through its glory days when it led America to the moon, beating both the Soviet Union and President Kennedy’s deadline. The James Webb Space Telescope should be renamed. But it should be renamed because naming something after him that is ten years behind schedule and 2,000% over budget is an insult to NASA’s greatest *administrator*.

    What is really important is that this new boondoggle is named for a woman!

    I yield to no one in my disdain for the political correctness sweeping this country and its drive to celebrate the accomplishments of women and minorities, no matter how trivial. But I make an exception here. Nancy Roman’s accomplishments in the field of astronomy are far from trivial. She led the effort to build NASA’s first Orbiting Astronomical Observatories and laid the groundwork for the Hubble Space Telescope. Naming WFIRST after her is both fitting and proper.

    Hopefully it will reach orbit and be a fitting successor to the OAOs and the HST.

  • Star Bird

    Gosh why dose it take so long? Maybe they need to work the Bugs out

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