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A broken clamp rattled NASA's new $10 billion space telescope, risking damage just weeks before launch

Added 11-23-21 03:14:02pm EST - “NASA pushed back the James Webb Space Telescope's December launch by four days after a clamp broke and vibrated the delicate spacecraft.” - Businessinsider.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Businessinsider.com: “A broken clamp rattled NASA's new $10 billion space telescope, risking damage just weeks before launch”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope suffered an unexpected jolt as technicians prepared to load the next-generation equipment onto a rocket for launch, the agency revealed on Monday. Now NASA is investigating the delicate spacecraft for signs of damage.

The incident occurred at a satellite preparation facility in Kourou, French Guiana, where Webb is set to launch from in December. Technicians were about to attach Webb to its "launch vehicle adapter" — which connects the telescope to the upper part of the Ariane 5 rocket — when a clamp band snapped unexpectedly, sending vibrations through the delicate telescope.

A NASA review board is investigating the incident, including performing tests to determine what caused the clamp release and making sure Webb wasn't damaged by the vibrations.

While Webb was set to launch December 18, NASA has pushed the date to December 22 at the earliest, in order to conduct the investigation. It's the latest in a series of delays that have kept the telescope from launching into Earth's orbit and probing the secrets of our universe.

"For sheer caution, what we have done after these calculations is gone back to a small number of subsystems and just done the functional tests," Thomas Zurbuchen, an associate administrator for NASA, said during a Monday press conference.

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