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A new report on the James Webb Space Telescope has found that ongoing technical issues with final testing and assembly of the $8.8 billion project will probably cause the launch date of the oft-delayed instrument to slip again to the right. Presently, NASA is targeting June 2019 for launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket.The US Government Accountability Office published the report on Wednesday. It concluded, "Given several ongoing technical issues, and the work remaining to test the spacecraft element and complete integration of the telescope and spacecraft, combined with continuing slower-than-planned work at Northrop Grumman, we believe that the rescheduled launch window is likely unachievable."
the report cites a worrying problem that cropped up during one of the tests to deploy the telescope's essential sunshield—one of its six membrane tensioning systems experienced a potentially crippling "snag."Moreover, last year the contractor found that eight of 16 valves in the spacecraft's thrusters were leaking beyond acceptable levels. Although it could not conclusively determine the cause of the leak, Northrop Grumman ultimately determined that this was most likely caused by technician handling errors. The thruster modules had to be individually investigated, refurbished, and re-attached, which contributed months of delays to the schedule.
All of this has left the telescope project with just 1.5 months of schedule reserve. In recognition of this urgency, Northrop Grumman has, according to the report, increased its daily work shifts from two to three, and teams are now working 24 hours per day on spacecraft integration.
Turno di notte su un progetto del genere? Assurdo, IMHO... qualcuno di voi ha esperienza di turni di notte su progetti ultra-critici?
con più tranquillità rispetto al giorno.
A decision on a new launch date for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, and announcement of any potential breach of its $8 billion cost cap, could come next week, an agency official said March 20. At a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council’s science committee here, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, said an independent review of the schedule for the flagship space observatory was wrapping up.