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Pandemic shuts down multi-billion dollar world premier space project

Coronavirus disrupts testing operations on James Webb Space Telescope

NASA technicians lifted the telescope using a crane and moved it inside a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Once launched into space, the Webb telescope’s 18-segmented gold mirror is specially designed to capture infrared light from the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, and will help the telescope peer inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.
NASA technicians lifted the telescope using a crane and moved it inside a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Once launched into space, the Webb telescope’s 18-segmented gold mirror is specially designed to capture infrared light from the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, and will help the telescope peer inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today. (NASA)

The James Webb Space Telescope, a world premier space science observatory, is on an uncertain path to its scheduled launch on March 30, 2021. The Webb Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built.

In a news release Thursday, NASA said the project will be shut down due to coronavirus complications once operations reach a critical point.

The James Webb Space Telescope is expected to have the capability to solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond distant worlds orbiting other stars, and probe the origins of the universe, but the timeline of the observatory has been difficult and even disappointing.

Throughout the project’s lengthy timeline, the budget ballooned from $500 million to more than $9.5 billion, according to NASA.

Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. Read more about the James Webb Space Telescope here.


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