Artist’s view of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in space, up and operating tackling a full agenda of space science conquests.
Credit: Northrop Grumman

 

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE: Integration and Test Challenges Have Delayed Launch and Threaten to Push Costs Over Cap.

The James Webb Space Telescope, the planned successor to the Hubble Telescope, is one of NASA’s most complex and expensive projects.

NASA recently announced that JWST’s launch would be delayed several months, from October 2018 to no later than June 2019, because components of the telescope are taking longer to integrate than planned.

Delayed again

Based on the amount of work NASA has to complete before JWST is ready to launch, the GAO report explains that it’s likely the launch date will be delayed again. If that happens, the project will be at risk of exceeding the $8 billion cost cap set by Congress.

The project’s Standing Review Board will conduct an independent review of JWST’s schedule status in early 2018 to determine if the June 2019 launch window can be met.

JWST’s combined science instruments and optical element recently completed 100 days of thermal vacuum testing inside NASA Johnson Space Center’s Chamber A. Engineers are seen by the hardware shortly after it emerged from the huge test facility on December 1, 2017.
Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read the GAO Highlights Page on this new JWST report, go to:

https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/690412.pdf

The Full Report can be found at:

https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/690413.pdf

Too big to fail?

Take a look at my new Scientific American story for details about the JWST:

Is the James Webb Space Telescope “Too Big to Fail?”

Backers of NASA’s next great observatory contemplate its worst-case scenarios

By Leonard David on December 29, 2017

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-james-webb-space-telescope-too-big-to-fail/

For a video look at JWST, go to Northrop Grumman overview published on Jan 24, 2017 at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6ihVeEoUdo

Witness testimony

Lastly, a U.S. House of Representatives Space Subcommittee hearing, “NASA’s Next Four Large Telescopes, was held on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 with witnesses spotlighting the JWST and other space telescope projects:

“The current assessment of JWST’s status is
that integration and test will take significantly longer than
planned. The result is a launch schedule delay and the
consumption of most of the remaining funding reserves. In my
opinion, the launch date and required funding cannot be
determined until a new plan is thoughtfully developed and
verified by independent review.” – Thomas Young
Credit: Inside Outer Space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator, Science Mission Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-TZurbuchen-20171206.pdf

— Cristina Chaplain, Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management, U.S. Government Accountability Office

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-CChaplain-20171206.PDF

— Thomas Young, Former Director, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA; Former President and Chief Operating Officer, Martin Marietta Corporation

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-TYoung-20171206.pdf

— Matt Mountain, President, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-MMountain-20171206.PDF

— Chris McKee, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, Physics, University of California, Berkeley, on behalf of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-CMcKee-20171206.pdf

To view that hearing, go to:

https://youtu.be/UkaNtpmoVI0

 

 

 

 

 

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