Scroll down to read this post.


On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Problem with Ariane 5 rocket causes Arianespace to delay Webb telescope launch

As first revealed in mid-May, Arianespace has been forced to delay the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope by at least one month because of a problem with the fairing on its Ariane 5 rocket, found during an August 2020 launch.

There have been no Ariane 5 launches since. According to yesterday’s press briefing, however:

“The origin of the problem has been found. Corrective actions have been taken,” Daniel de Chambure, acting head of Ariane 5 adaptations and future missions at ESA, said. “The qualification review has started, so we should be able to confirm all that within a few days or weeks.” He did not elaborate on the problem or those corrective actions, beyond stating that the problem took place during separation of the payload fairing. Industry sources said in May that, on the two launches, the separation system imparted vibrations on the payload above acceptable limits, but did not damage the payloads.

It appears this new delay to Webb’s launch is because two commercial payloads must lift off first before Webb, with the first now scheduled for July. According to Arianespace, it will take two months prep for the next commercial launch, followed by two months prep for the Webb launch. That puts the launch of Webb in November.

Overall this particular delay is slight, only a few weeks, and pales in comparison to the ten years of delays experienced by NASA during development and construction of Webb. It also will add very little to the telescope’s overall budget, which has grown from an original price of $500 million to now about $10 billion.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Skunk Bucket

    Perhaps you mean $10 Billion, not million? They’re certainly not cutting costs like SpaceX.

    I’ve got the horrible premonition that something’s going to go wrong with this whole project and it will all be for naught. Nothing in particular to back this up, but I’m going to be on pins and needles until Webb is in position and operating nominally.

  • Skunk Bucket: I don’t know how that happened. Fixed to billion, as it should have been and I was certain it was. Thanks.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Serious question. Is the JWST insured against launch failure. Many payloads are, but I don’t know if they have a value of $10 billion.

  • Ray Van Dune: Government payloads are self-insured by the government. If Webb is lost during launch it is gone.

    NASA made its barter deal with Arianespace to use the Ariane 5 partly because of its reputation for reliability.

  • Lee Stevenson

    I also get “bad vibes” from the James Webb… And I don’t think it’s just down to my spider senses. The cost over runs, and delays all boil down to problems found on the ground. And perhaps the delays are down to “an abundance of caution”, but I can’t help wonder if so many problems have been found in everything from basic design thru to launch, before it comes close to launching, what faults might become evident once the thing becomes space bound?

    I hope that I am wrong, we need this telescope, and if it works as designed will open previously closed horizons, but man, I have huge reservations.

  • JhonB

    Hey, Now they can blame the delays on the Ariane 5 and not their own issues. Probably the Ariane 5 will be ready to launch and something else will go wrong.

  • Col Beausabre

    Next – Hurricane topples Ariane with JBST aboard……

  • Jay

    Don’t jinx it Col. Beausabre! It is rare for French Guiana to get hit by a hurricane. It is like Curaçao, they never get hit, and the hurricanes go north into the Caribbean. It does rain a lot there.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Bob, can you remind me what each side offered in the barter to launch JWST?

  • Ray Van Dune: The deal was the same with Hubble, though what Europe provided was different. They launch Webb and get a guaranteed percentage of observation time per year on the telescope for Europeans.

  • Jeff Wright

    Hubble was simple in comparison. Maybe the Ariane folks are missing another rag?

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson wrote: “I also get ‘bad vibes’ from the James Webb… And I don’t think it’s just down to my spider senses.

    There are a few things that are new or larger than have ever been tried before, so some trepidation is natural. Fortunately, NASA likes to test and verify before launch, and problems with some of these new items are responsible for a portion of the delays and cost overruns. These verifications should help assure us all that Webb will work properly as long as it reaches its operational orbit. Meanwhile, I have my fingers crossed for luck, too.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *