After two decades in construction, James Webb Space Telescope is on its way to its launch site.
In a rare departure from the woke policies of the Biden Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is rejecting the demands of LGBTQ-activists and diversity-inclusion minions to change the name of the James Webb Space Telescope.
The telescope, which will be the successor to the iconic Hubble telescope, was named for Webb, who was the second appointed administrator of NASA who oversaw all the critical first manned launches in the Mercury through Gemini programs. Of course, the social justice warriors are claiming homophobia.
NASA does not plan to rename its new $10 billion technological marvel, the James Webb Space Telescope, despite concerns about it being named after former NASA administrator James Webb, who went along with government discrimination against gay and lesbian employees in the 1950s and 1960s.
The space agency tells NPR it has investigated the matter and decided to keep the telescope’s name as is, ahead of the long-awaited launch in December.
“We have found no evidence at this time that warrants changing the name of the James Webb Space Telescope,” says NASA administrator Bill Nelson.
The histrionic demands were set forth in a petition, which managed to garner about 1200 signatures.
Before becoming NASA chief, “Webb served as the Undersecretary of State during the purge of queer people from government service known as the ‘Lavender Scare.’ Archival evidence clearly indicates that Webb was in high-level conversations regarding the creation of this policy and resulting actions,” the petition states. “As we have noted previously, Webb’s legacy of leadership is complicated at best, and at worst, complicit with persecution.”
Putting Webb’s name on such a high-profile mission — NASA has billed the observatory as the successor to its iconic Hubble Space Telescope — sends a troubling message about the agency’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, the petition’s creators say.
“We, the future users of NASA’s next-generation space telescope and those who will inherit its legacy, demand that this telescope be given a name worthy of its remarkable discoveries, a name that stands for a future in which we are all free,” the petition reads.
Scientific American, a publication that has devolved into neither, joined in the overweening demands that lack any sense of proportion, reason, or historical perspective.
Webb was in leadership as the lavender scare unfolded. Additional archival evidence, easily found by Columbia University astronomer Adrian Lucy, underlines Webb’s role as a facilitator of homophobic policy discussions with members of the Senate. In particular, in 1950 assistant secretary of state Carlisle Humelsine submitted a set of memos to Webb that included “objectives and methods of operation of the Senate Committee established to look into the problem,” which Webb then shared during a meeting with Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina. The records clearly show that Webb planned and participated in meetings during which he handed over homophobic material. There is no record of him choosing to stand up for the humanity of those being persecuted.
As someone in management, Webb bore responsibility for policies enacted under his leadership, including homophobic ones that were in place when he became NASA administrator. Some argue that if Webb was complicit, so was everyone working in the agency’s administration at the time. We agree. But NASA is not launching a telescope named after its entire administration.
Happily, after 20 years of construction, the James Webb Space Telescope is heading to its launch site for a December takeoff.
A ship carrying the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope left a port in Southern California last weekend to begin a nearly two-week journey to Kourou, French Guiana, where it will begin final preparations for launch Dec. 18 on a European Ariane 5 rocket.
“The James Webb Space Telescope is finished,” said Paul Hertz, head of NASA’s astrophysics division, in a presentation to the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee earlier this week. “We’ve stopped working on it. It’s on the way to the launch pad for a launch on Dec. 18.”
Eric Smith, NASA’s program scientist for the Webb telescope, confirmed Wednesday the observatory has departed the United States after completing final testing at a Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, California.
“We are in transit to Kourou, having left the continental United States now,” Smith said in the advisory committee meeting.
Webb died in 1992 at the age of 85 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. I would not be surprised to see petitions eventually asking that Webb and others who do not conform to the standards of woke activists be exhumed and reburied elsewhere.DONATE
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