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The highly anticipated launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed multiple times.
Now, the telescope is expected to launch on December 25 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
The launch window opens Christmas morning at 7:20 a.m. ET and closes at 7:52 a.m. ET. Live coverage of the launch will stream on NASA’s TV channel and website beginning Saturday at 6 a.m.
Ahead of a planned launch for December 24, news of adverse weather conditions came shortly after NASA shared that the Launch Readiness Review for the telescope was completed on Tuesday.
Another weather forecast reviewed on Wednesday confirmed the new launch date of December 25.
Heralded to be the premier space observatory of the next decade, the telescope, initially planned for a 2018 launch, has endured years of delays, including a combination of factors brought on by the pandemic and technical challenges.
Last week, teams were working on “a communication issue between the observatory and the launch vehicle system” that pushed the launch to December 24, NASA shared in an online post. The agency has since stated that the problem has been mostly resolved and would not prevent the launch.
The previous launch date of December 18 was pushed to December 22 after an incident occurred during launch preparations in November.
As technicians were preparing to attach the telescope to the upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket that will be used during the launch, “a sudden, unplanned release of a clamp band caused a vibration throughout the observatory,” according to the agency.
After testing and reviewing the observatory, teams concluded that the telescope was not damaged, and fueling was completed on December 3. The telescope was placed on top of the rocket on December 11.