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If the James Webb Space Telescope is launched, will it succeed in transmitting cosmological data?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or "Webb") is a space telescope in construction that will be the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST will provide greatly improved resolution and sensitivity over the Hubble, and will enable a broad range of investigations across the fields of astronomy and cosmology. The JWST's is currently scheduled for March 2021.

One of its goals is observing the most distant events and objects in the universe, such as the formation of the first galaxies. Other goals include understanding the formation of stars and planets, and direct imaging of exoplanets and novas. (See also JWST YouTube channel for further information).

Development began in 1996, but the project has had numerous delays and cost overruns with current budget estimated at around $10 billion. A major source of worry is deployment process. For example, in March 2018, NASA delayed the JWST's launch after the telescope's sunshield ripped during a practice deployment.

The deployment process is detailed in this video.

If the James Webb Space Telescope is launched before 2030, will it succeed in transmitting cosmological data?

The question resolves positively if after the ignition of the launch system designed to launch the JWST, the JWST is either fully functional or has defects, but it is still able to carry out important observations not possible by other means at the time of deployment, as announced by credible sources on cosmological matters, such as reputable journals or government space programmes. If launch fails, critically damages the JWST before it succeeds in transmitting cosmological data, or explodes during launch, the question resolves negative.

Important: In case JWST is not launched before 2030, this question will resolve ambiguous.

The question will resolve when either the telescope is announced fully functional, or a previously impossible observation has been cried out, or based on government agencies announcement from which it will follow that carrying out a previously impossible observation will be very unlikely.

The question will close the day before the launch day. Moderators may need to close it retroactively or keep it open for longer than currently set.


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Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

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