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Webb launch delayed two days because of ground equipment issue

After engineers at Arianespace’s French Guiana launch facility found an intermittent issue with ground equipment related to the Ariane 5 rocket launching the James Webb Space Telescope, it was decided to delay the launch two days to make sure the problem was resolved.

n a brief statement, NASA wrote on its website late Tuesday that the Webb team is “working a communications issue between the observatory and the launch vehicle system.”

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s science mission directorate, said Tuesday that engineers found an “interface problem” in a system that communicates with Webb while it’s on top of the Ariane 5 rocket. “The way to think about it is it’s a ground support equipment thing,” Zurbuchen said Tuesday night in an interview with Spaceflight Now. “Basically, the data cables are dropping some frames.”

Technicians inside the Ariane 5 rocket’s final assembly building in Kourou have tried to diagnose the problem, but so far, haven’t been able to resolve it.

The December 24th target day date remains tentative, and could slip to December 25th, or even later, depending on how successful engineers are at fixing the issue.

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.


  • wayne

    Yo, Mr. Z., — read that headline again.

  • wayne: Thank you. Now fixed.

  • Localfluff

    I wonder what else could go wrong? This will be a Christmas gift that will be exciting to see unfold.
    But let’s think positively! Everything has already gone wrong on the ground, so it has been fixed. There’s nothing left that can fail.

    I’ve recently discovered the YT-channel of this guy, which I recommend warmly. It’s an ex-sailor who talks very knowingly it seems, about modern times submarines (they have some similarities with spacecrafts). I’m impressed that there’s so much information available about what I thought were the most secret things there are. This clip accounts for a dramatic accident of a Soviet submarine in 1989.

    Things go wrong. Countermeasures fail half the way again and again. Crews are deliberately sacrificed multiple times. I especially like the episode where the hydrogen gas from the overloaded batteries explodes and actually helps to loosens the jammed escape pod with the captain and four others onboard. All but one knocked unconscious by the shock. He saves the rest to a raft in water so cold that one cannot use the hands, but must bite in ropes hanging from the raft. After a technical background, the story of the accident begins 17 minutes 10 seconds into the presentation:

  • Localfluff

    I’m sorry I misremembered the accident story I linked to above, as I listened to it again. Only one of the five in the escape pod survived. That’s pretty bad statistics for an escape pod. As it left with another crew member knocking on the door being deliberately left behind at 1300 feet depth. I think this stuff is thrilling!

    I had to make military conscription as a teenager (Isn’t it a great idea to teach teenagers how to play with weapons!) My first choice was to serve on a submarine. But I was too tall to be admitted. I suppose Swedish submarines are small. So I was put in the cavalry instead. Learned how to ride those crazy beasts called “horses”. I’ve heard that in the US you have things called “armoured cars” for your cavalry, we don’t have that. Anyway, it was very nice to act like a kind of tall poster boy for the army during parades. We even got tailored uniforms 19th century style. And silvery helmets with something flashy on top of them waving in the wind. Only later in life do I understand how truly lucky I was in the lottery that conscription is. Sergeant in the military police serving for parades in the capitol (rather than in the frozen marshes of the North like most had to). With an organization of girls taking care of the horses voluntarily in exchange for having a ride now and then. I mean, how can you not love the Army!?

    Navy bad news, army good! ;-)

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