Representatives of the scientific community were looking forward to the launch of the James Webb space telescope, which was developed at NASA at the end of the 90s. This is the changer of the famous Hubble telescope and one of the most powerful telescopes. The start was scheduled for spring 2020, but then it was postponed to March 30, 2021. The timing offset was also accompanied by an additional billion dollar cost.
At a press conference, NASA representatives assured that there was nothing to worry about, and they are confident of the success of the future mission. But only those present still caught the nervousness of the officials.
NASA Assistant Administrator for Science Missions Thomas Zurbuchen said:
“I am not glad that I have to voice such news. We always want to share successes and breakthroughs. It surprises me that in a specific mission, problems have arisen, since earlier we were able to adhere to the deadlines ”.
However, the reality regarding the telescope of James Webb still looks very sad. In 2013, NASA announced that it would launch a mission in 2011. In 2011, they still could not understand how to integrate a large-scale telescope into a spacecraft. The budget grew from 2.5 to 8.7 billion dollars, and the planned launch date shifted to October 2018. Then in September 2017, NASA announced that the date is shifting in the spring of 2019. But after 6 months (March 2018), the launch of the launch was announced again in the spring of 2020. Now the most optimistic date is considered to be March 2021. By the way, further in NASA do not assume delays.
In addition to the news of the launch delay, NASA also announced the results of an independent advisory council that was engaged in finding errors and providing advice on improving the system. Among the detaining factors were human error, problems with existing equipment, integration into the spacecraft, problems with the morale of employees and unrealistic deadlines.
The telescope James Webb plan to use to see the first light of the universe. The mechanism uses a giant mirror and a solar screen to observe longer waves of light than the Hubble telescope (the Hubble high-aperture mirror is less than 8 feet in diameter, while James Webb has 21 feet).
Comparison of the Hubble Space Telescope Mirror and James Webb Telescope A new telescope needs a sturdy spacecraft. The latest acoustic tests also revealed problems in the telescope that Northrop Grumman, a contracting company, should eliminate. Of course, correcting problems and mistakes will require more money from Congress.
The latest data indicates that the new cost of the telescope by James Webb with an estimated launch date will be $ 9.66 billion. This amount includes integration and tests, launch and 5 years of operation.
It turns out that for the telescope of James Webb things are not going very well. But NASA is trying to maintain an optimistic attitude, although they are upset by the increase in time and budget. One can only hope that all expenses will pay off with scientific achievements.