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

 

 

NASA is hosting a media teleconference on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at 11:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday, March 27.

This update is expected to provide new information regarding delays in launching JWST – what will be the world’s premier infrared space observatory and the largest astronomical science telescope ever built for in-space duties. It is slated to be lofted by Europe’s Ariane-5 booster.

 

Audio of the call will stream live at this site:

https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Integration delays

NASA has previously 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.

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

Based on the amount of work NASA has to complete before JWST is ready to launch, 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 recently conducted an independent review of JWST’s schedule status in early 2018 to determine if the June 2019 launch window can be met.

Briefing participants

The briefing participants are:

Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot; Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Thomas Zurbuchen; and Deputy Associate Administrator of SMD, Dennis Andrucyk.

Background resources

To read a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of JWST, go to this Highlights Page at:

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

The Full Report can be found at:

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

Also, take a look at my 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

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

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

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

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