On Monday, the US space agency, NASA, made an announcement that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is 50% complete. It said that the cost of the project has reached $7.2 billion over its initial budget and behind the original schedule by 7 years.
There is a long history of significant cost overruns and delays of the telescope. Initially the JWST was projected to cost $1.6 billion and was planned to be launched in 2011. Now the Government Accountability Office is estimating the final cost at $8.8 billion. Now, the space agency has scheduled the telescope for an October 2018 launch.
In 2015 alone, the telescope is likely to cost $645.4 million, which makes it accountable for about 13% of annual science budget of NASA. Since December 2014, the telescope has stayed on schedule and within budget, but it is still vulnerable to further delays, as per the Government Accountability Office.
The telescope is relatively small relative to bigger Earth-based telescopes however its infrared capabilities and position over the atmosphere may allow it to find out potentially habitable planets surrounding other stars, probably extraterrestrial life too.
The assembling of the telescope has been done in at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The Hubble Space Telescope faced similar JWST setbacks. Initially, Hubble was planned to launch in 1983, but its launch got delayed until 1990 due to technical issues. The space agency found that the main mirror of HST had been incorrectly manufactured after launch, which forced the space agency to install a corrective lens in orbit with the help of the Space Shuttle.
Universetoday reported that, as history closes in on 2015, assembly of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reached a historic milestone as the installation of the primary mirrors onto the telescope structure reached the halfway point to completion and marks the final assembly phase of the colossal observatory.
Technicians have just installed the ninth of 18 primary flight mirrors onto the mirror holding backplane structure at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Phys report said, Inside NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's massive clean room in Greenbelt, Maryland, the ninth flight mirror was installed onto the telescope structure with a robotic arm. This marks the halfway completion point for the James Webb Space Telescope's segmented primary mirror.
The James Webb Space Telescope team has been working tirelessly to install all 18 of Webb's mirror segments onto the telescope structure.
According to the Dailycaller, The telescope has a long history of major cost overruns and delays. The JWST was initially projected to cost $1.6 billion and should have been launched in 2011. The Government Accountability Office now estimates the final cost at $8.8 billion, and NASA has now scheduled the telescope for an October 2018 launch.