Sbad weather delays the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which has already been postponed several times, by another day. The start of the most expensive unmanned mission in space history, which was last scheduled for Christmas Eve, at $ 9.7 billion, was postponed to Christmas Day on Tuesday evening, according to a message from the European space agency ESA.
The folded mirror telescope, which is more than ten meters high, has already been placed on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle and encapsulated. Today, Wednesday, the rocket and payload were to be pushed over several kilometers of track to the launch pad in the space center near Kourou in French Guiana.
The procedure has now been postponed by at least 24 hours due to the high risk of thunderstorms on site. While the frequent tropical rains on site do not pose a problem for rocket launches, those responsible at Arianespace and the French scientific organization CNES, who are carrying out the launch, are concerned about possible lightning strikes.
Tonight the weather situation is to be checked again. It will depend on whether JWST, a joint project between NASA and ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, can take off on Saturday, December 25th. The 32-minute start window then opens at 1:20 p.m. Central European Time.