NASA has announced a new target launch date for the James Webb Space Telescope after it was delayed — yet again — due to the coronavirus pandemic and some technical challenges. The agency moved the target date from March 2021 to October 31st, 2021 based on “recently completed schedule risk assessment of the remaining integration and test activities...” Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Hubble successor will actually be blasting off to outer space by October next year.
James Webb was originally scheduled for a 2018 launch, which got moved to May 2020 and then again to March 2021 due to its complex construction needs and a series of technical issues. It wasn’t even until April this year that NASA was able to put its enormous mirror to the test for the first time. There’s also this continued uncertainty around the pandemic, which could still cause further delays.