Space agency NASA has confirmed that it paused “integration and testing operations” on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) due to novel Coronavirus. The agency is excepting that the suspension of ongoing activities will impact the launch date of the mission. To recall, the mission is scheduled to launch in March 2021.
“The James Webb Space Telescope team, also in California, is suspending integration and testing operations,” NASA says in a press release. “Decisions could be adjusted as the situation continues to unfold over the weekend and into next week. The decision was made to ensure the safety of the workforce. The observatory remains safe in its cleanroom environment.”
The telescope was initially scheduled to complete in 2018 but it suffered series of delays due to the unavailability of a large number of parts required. JWST will the successor of the most famous Hubble telescope. It will explore the cosmos using infrared light, from planets and moons within our Solar System to the most ancient and distant galaxies.