Ariane 5 launches satellites into geostationary orbit

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Sunshield for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope successfully unfolds in final test

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a sizeable next-generation space telescope set to be launched sometime in 2021. As the launch window approaches, the telescope has gone through a series of tests to ensure its space readiness. The most recent of those tests involved unfolding the telescope’s sunshield.

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James Webb Space Telescope launch missing March 2021 target due to COVID-19

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the “largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built and launched into space,” NASA says.

But preparing the giant space telescope for launch requires people, and COVID-19 severely limited the workforce at NASA for the last three months.

Given recent remote work requirements, NASA no longer believes it can launch the James Webb Space Telescope by March 2021 as previously planned.

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Video: Time-lapse of NASA’s James Webb space telescope assembly, sunshield deployment

The major milestone of assembly was reached in California last August. Today we get a time-lapse video of that process from Northrop Grumman’s clean room.

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