NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Completes Environmental Testing

Following the complete assembly of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, testing teams performed a comprehensive systems evaluation which allowed them to confidently assess Webb’s software and electronic performance as a single fully connected vehicle. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

by Thaddeus Cesari 
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — With the completion of its latest series of milestone tests, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has now survived all of the harsh conditions associated with a rocket launch to space. 

Webb’s recent tests have validated that the fully assembled  observatory will endure the deafening noise, and the jarring shakes, rattles and vibrations that the observatory will experience during liftoff. Known as “acoustic” and “sine-vibration” testing, NASA has worked carefully with its international partners to match Webb’s testing environment precisely to what Webb will experience both on launch day, and when operating in orbit.

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Maxar’s 1300-Class Broadcasting Satellite Built for B-SAT Performing According to Plan After Launch

BSAT-4b, built by Maxar Technologies for Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT), is seen here in Maxar’s manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, Calif. (Credit: Maxar Technologies)

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Maxar PR) — Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced that the BSAT-4b satellite, built for Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT), successfully launched on Saturday and is performing according to plan.

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Intelsat Announces Successful Launch of Galaxy 30 Satellite and Northrop Grumman’s Second Mission Extension Vehicle

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s Flight VA253 was equipped with a new vehicle equipment bay that enabled the launcher’s payload capacity to be increased. (Credit: Arianespace)

McLean, Va., August 15, 2020 (Intelsat PR) – Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, announced the successful launch of Galaxy 30, a geosynchronous communications satellite that will primarily provide high-performance television distribution service to Intelsat’s North American customers.

Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2) was part of the same successful launch on Saturday. The Intelsat 10-02 satellite is scheduled to be its first customer in early 2021.

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Ariane 5 Launch Set for Friday

Ariane 5 launches on Feb. 18, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace Flight VA253 – which will utilize an increased-lift Ariane 5 version – is a “go” for launch on August 14 following an additional Launch Readiness Review (LRR) performed today in French Guiana.

This approval clears the way for Ariane 5’s return to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone tomorrow, followed by the final countdown leading to an evening liftoff on Friday.

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Ariane 5 Launch Scrubbed Due to Sensor Problem

Arianespace Launch Update

The final countdown for Flight Ariane #253 (VA253) was halted at 2’14’’ before liftoff during a first launch attempt on July 31 due to the unexpected behavior of a sensor inside the liquid hydrogen tank in the launcher’s main cryogenic stage.

Ariane 5 is being transferred back to the Final Assembly Building (BAF), where a spare sensor will be set up and a new flight program uploaded to the launcher. These additional operations, and those that follow, will take several days. In the meantime, the Ariane 5 launch vehicle and its three spacecraft payloads are in stable and safe conditions.

With the schedule being firmed up, a new target launch date will be announced by Monday, August 3.

Arianespace is applying its standard procedures to maintain the highest level of reliability for the benefit of its customers.

Ariane 5 Launch Postponed

Ariane 5 launches on Feb. 18, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

Arianespace Schedule Update

To enable additional technical checks required under the fairing and the Ariane dual launch system (SYLDA), the final phase of launch preparation operations for the 253rd Ariane flight (VA253) has not been initiated by Arianespace.

The soonest possible launch date for this mission is Friday, July 31 at:

  • 5:30 p.m., Washington, D.C. time,
  • 6:30 p.m., Kourou, French Guiana time,
  • 9:30 p.m., Universal Time (UTC),
  • 11:30 p.m., Paris time.

The Ariane 5 launch vehicle and its three spacecraft payloads are in stable and safe condition.

Arianespace to Launch Three Satellites Towards Geostationary Orbit on July 28

Ariane 5 launches on Feb. 18, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Final step in Ariane 5 latest performance improvement program decided in 2016, Flight VA253 brings the total increase in payload capacity to 300 kg since then.

The two of the three companies whose satellites are being launched are both long-standing customers – Intelsat for 37 years and B-SAT for 23 years – clearly proving the excellence of Arianespace’s service offering and long-term customer relations.

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Webb Space Telescope Launch Slips 7 Months

Shown with its primary mirror fully deployed, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the largest and most technically complex space science telescope NASA has ever built. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA now is targeting Oct. 31, 2021, for the launch of the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope from French Guiana, due to impacts from the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as technical challenges.

This decision is based on a recently completed schedule risk assessment of the remaining integration and test activities prior to launch. Previously, Webb was targeted to launch in March 2021.

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Northrop Grumman’s Second Mission Extension Vehicle and Galaxy 30 Satellite Begin Launch Preparations in French Guiana

The second Mission Extension Vehicle and the company-built Galaxy 30 spacecraft have been delivered to the launch site and are scheduled for liftoff in late July. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

The spacecraft will launch together on an Arianespace 5 rocket; MEV-2 set to dock with Intelsat satellite in early 2021

DULLES, Va., June 30, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced today the arrival of the company-built Galaxy 30 (G-30) spacecraft for Intelsat and the Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2) at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. The vehicles are scheduled to launch late July 2020, in a stacked configuration onboard an Ariane 5 rocket.

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Tower Extension Test a Success for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Technicians inspect a critical part of the James Webb Space Telescope known as the Deployable Tower Assembly after fully extending it in the same maneuver it will perform in once in space. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — To test the James Webb Space Telescope’s readiness for its journey in space, technicians successfully commanded it to deploy and extend a critical part of the observatory known as the Deployable Tower Assembly. 

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Arianespace to Resume Launches from French Guiana

Ariane 5 launches on Feb. 18, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

EVRY_COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Following the measures presented by the French government on April 28 as part of the gradual resumption of activity planned from May 11, and the announcement of a restart of operational activities at the Guiana Space Center, Arianespace confirms its following launch objectives:

  • Flight VV16/SSMS – The first “rideshare” Vega launch, carrying approximately 50 small satellites, in mid-June;
  • Flight VA253 – A dual-payload Ariane 5 mission for two customers, Intelsat and B-SAT, at the end of July.
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ESA, European Commission Pre-order Four More Ariane 6 Launches

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has finalized its preorder for four more launches on Ariane 6, along with an initial payment.

Using Ariane 62, the light version of the new European launcher, these missions will be carried out on behalf of the European Commission to continue the deployment and operational ramp-up of the high-performance Galileo satellite navigation system.

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Ariane 5 Launches 2 Satellites

Ariane 5 launches on Feb. 18, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Satellites for two operators based in the Asia-Pacific region – Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) – were successfully deployed to geostationary transfer orbit on Arianespace’s latest Ariane 5 mission.

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