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posted by on Thursday March 30 2017, @10:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the cost+ dept.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) remains on track for an October 2018 launch:

JWST passed its final vibration testing Tuesday ensuring that the craft is finally fit for spaceflight. NASA has scheduled the telescope for an October 2018 launch, but the telescope was originally supposed to be launched in 2011 marking a long history of major cost overruns and delays.

NASA announced last December that the JWST was halfway completed, but the project is currently $7.2 billion over its initial budget and seven years behind the original schedule. The JWST was initially projected to cost $1.6 billion. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) now estimates the final cost of the telescope at $8.8 billion.

[...] During vibration testing in December at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center, accelerometers attached to the telescope detected "unexpected responses" and engineers were forced to shut the test down to protect the hardware. The kind of response NASA found could potentially create serious problems when the telescope is launched into space.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Screws and Washers Have Fallen Off JWST Amid Testing and Independent Review 32 comments

JWST suffers new problem during spacecraft testing

In a presentation at a meeting of the National Academies' Space Studies Board here May 3, Greg Robinson, the JWST program director at NASA Headquarters, said some "screws and washers" appear to have come off the spacecraft during recent environmental testing at a Northrop Grumman facility in Southern California. Technicians found the items after the spacecraft element of JWST, which includes the bus and sunshield but not its optics and instruments, was moved last weekend from one chamber for acoustics tests to another to prepare for vibration testing.

"Right now we believe that all of this hardware — we're talking screws and washers here — come from the sunshield cover," he said. "We're looking at what this really means and what is the recovery plan." The problem, he said, was only a couple of days old, and he had few additional details about the problem. "It's not terrible news, but it's not good news, either," he said. The incident, Robinson argued, showed the importance of the wide range of tests the spacecraft is put through prior to launch. "That's why we do the testing," he said. "We do it now, we find it now, we fix it and we launch a good spacecraft."

This latest incident comes as an independent review board, chartered by NASA in late March after announcing a one-year delay in JWST's launch because of other technical issues, is in the midst of its analysis of the mission and its launch readiness. That review, led by retired aerospace executive and former NASA Goddard director Tom Young, is scheduled to be completed at the end of the month.

NASA is expected to brief Congress on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope in late June.

Also at Popular Mechanics.

Previously: James Webb Space Telescope Vibration Testing Completed
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to Spring 2019
JWST: Too Big to Fail?
GAO: James Webb Space Telescope Launch Date Likely Will be Delayed (Again)
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to May 2020, Could Exceed Budget Cap
NASA Announces JWST Independent Review Board Members

Related: Northrop Grumman's Faulty Payload Adapter Reportedly Responsible for "Zuma" Failure


Original Submission

Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Could be Further Delayed 33 comments

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is warning of possible further delays to the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST):

A government watchdog is warning that the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the long-awaited successor to the Hubble that's been beset by schedule snafus and cost overruns, might face further delays. NASA announced in September it had pushed back the launch date of the JWST from late 2018 to some time in the spring of 2019 due to testing delays partly blamed on Hurricane Harvey's impact on Texas' Gulf Coast in August.

On Wednesday, lawmakers on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee were told it could take even longer to launch the world's most powerful telescope. "More delays are possible given the risks associated with the work ahead and the level of schedule reserves that are now (below) what's recommended," said Cristina Chaplain, director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management for the Government Accountability Office.

[...] Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science missions, told lawmakers he expects the space agency will be able to meet the spring 2019 schedule. "I believe it's achievable," he said.

Previously: James Webb Space Telescope Vibration Testing Completed
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to Spring 2019

Related: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
NASA Unlikely to Have Enough Plutonium-238 for Missions by the Mid-2020s
WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs


Original Submission

GAO: James Webb Space Telescope Launch Date Likely Will be Delayed (Again) 16 comments

The U.S. Government Acountability [sic] Office (GAO) has warned that the launch of James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is likely to be delayed again, which could cause the budget cap set by the U.S. Congress to be exceeded:

The U.S. Government Acountability [sic] Office (GAO), a non-partisan group that investigates federal spending and performance, has issued a report on the James Webb Space Telescope that has astronomers worried. "It's likely the launch date will be delayed again," the report concludes — an ominous statement, given that any further delays could risk project cancellation.

Last year NASA announced a delay in the telescope's launch to sometime between March and June 2019. The 5- to 8-month delay came from problems integrating spacecraft components, especially its complex, five-layered sunshield, which must unfold perfectly when the telescope is deployed. Right after requesting the change in launch readiness date, the mission learned of further delays from its contractor, Northrum Grumman, due to "lessons learned from conducting deployment exercises of the spacecraft element and sunshield."

The mission now has 1.5 months of schedule reserve remaining, the GAO finds. Delays during integration and testing are common, "the phase in development where problems are most likely to be found and schedules tend to slip." The project has a total of five phases of integration and testing, and has made significant progress on phases three and four, with the fifth phase beginning in July.

GAO's 31-page report, February 2018: JWST: Integration and Test Challenges Have Delayed Launch and Threaten to Push Costs Over Cap.

Also at Science Magazine.

Previously: Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed to Spring 2019
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Could be Further Delayed

Related: James Webb Space Telescope Vibration Testing Completed
NASA Considering Flagship Space Telescope Options for the 2030s
WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs
JWST: Too Big to Fail?
Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30 2017, @12:13PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30 2017, @12:13PM (#486434)

    This time, the fucking JWST cunt was satisfied with the vibrator.
    Damn'd time she was, after $8.8B thrown up her arse.

    • (Score: 2) by stormwyrm on Thursday March 30 2017, @03:09PM (1 child)

      by stormwyrm (717) on Thursday March 30 2017, @03:09PM (#486496) Journal

      The US government almost ruined the JWST, and blamed NASA for it. [scienceblogs.com]

      So the government did an independent review of James Webb in 2010, determined what the quickest and cheapest way to complete it was, and what was needed to make that happen. They then didn’t provide the funds for it, and now further allow the blame to fall on NASA for the delays and cost overruns that they knew would happen.

      […]I’ll note that the $8.7 billion includes approximately $800 million ($0.8 billion) for five years of support and operation — step 6, above — that was not included in the revamped $6.5 billion figure. The reason for the huge, $1-1.5 billion and three year differences is because NASA has had to lay off workers and stop work on many components due to a lack of funds.

      […]And until the sunshield is ready, no matter how good the mirrors and instruments are, the James Webb Space Telescope — and all of NASA astrophysics — can only sit and wait. And while NASA Astrophysics deserves the blame for the initial cost overruns and delays (to $6.5 billion and 2015), the most recent, disastrous news (a cost of $8.7 billion and delays to 2018) should fall on the shoulders of a miserly US congress.

      (all emphasis in original)

      I’m only glad that it’s finally getting finished.

      --
      Regulam auream recordare: qui aurum habet, regulas facit.
      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday March 30 2017, @04:27PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday March 30 2017, @04:27PM (#486572)

        It's NASA's fault.
        If they had designed a telescope which can be used to find oil or spy on people, the NRO's copy would have been launched on time and on budget!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30 2017, @12:22PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30 2017, @12:22PM (#486436)

    Nice selection of clickbait and scam ads on that site.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30 2017, @01:38PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30 2017, @01:38PM (#486454)

      Daily Caller, Phys.org, etc. Don't know why out of all those links, there isn't one to the actual NASA site with the news [nasa.gov].

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