Latest blog post: An unforseen hiatus. (2023-01-02)
The JWST cost Billions of dollars and took years to build. They're waiting and moving the launch window to the best-possible conditions.
Nobody wants to be the one who screwed this up.
Just getting the payload launched is a huge milestone, but then comes the unfolding and assembly into the final configuration.
-This is a really hard mission with a lot of risk!
(Saturday 122521- 25 minutes after perfect launch: Whooooooooo!!! This is what happens when humans cooperate to accomplish great things.)
It was 0420 here when the Ariane 5 lit up and went downrange, but I had been awake since midnight because I didn't want to miss the launch. There's always something that can go wrong, even a single rivet or bolt coming lose can mean disaster, and I found myself wondering about the technical achievements, like how carefully the strange shape of the 14,000 pound payload had been balanced. But nothing happened, the rocket stayed on course true and perfect. You remind yourself that this is when something goes wrong, but it didn't. The trajectory took it to about 850Km altitude before the 2nd stage was done and fell away. The last view we had was from the camera on the 2nd stage -of the folded package (the protective fairing having been jettisoned about 10 minutes before this) as it moved away with the solar panel deployed and the high-gain antenna pointing back at Earth at T+33 minutes, on course for L2, beyond the moon.
I remember watching when the Challenger shuttle exploded, and there's always been that possibility on any launch, but this one was for all the marbles: It absolutely had to work, and it did!
Yeah. I think the most critical part (the 5 solar shields) is next. If the shields don't work then the mission is over. Without them the IR receptors can't get into the -400 degree climate they need to operate without unwanted noise. The rest is downhill compared to that (and with the launch out of the way!)
Yup. These people here are high-level delegates selected for the duty of handling international crises, and they're barely holding themselves together after being told what's currently known. The general public (television pundits and social media echo-chambers!) would take it worse and all but a select few would be less useful, so the cost/benefit ratio of telling them is too low. Once further research and attempts at diplomacy have established something productive the public can do or at least think, then it will be time to go on the news.
If he ends the presentation here, I would agree with #2, but probably not. A competent military man (known) serving a competent government (probable) won't have come here without a proposed plan of action. If that plan is good enough, the assembly will likely go along with it or at least focus on bending it to their liking, rather than blowing the lid off of everything.
I just hope next week reveals that, rather than jumping somewhere else (curious though I am what Gharr and the Three Musketeers have gotten up to in two weeks).
Primary plan is honesty "Here's what we know, how good that intel is, is debatable. What we can do is this, this and not that. When is questionable until logistics are sorted. Why we are in such a pickle is because we screwed up and don't have a plan as such and you bums screw us on budgets. Any suggestions?"
Secondary plan is be ready to kill everything in the room. Even if all you have is pen of questionable usability in your pocket.