from the primo-glass dept.
- Large Ultraviolet/Optical/Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR), a multipurpose follow-up mission to the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope with a 8-16 meter (26-52 foot) primary mirror that would make discoveries on exoplanets, dark matter, star formation, the earliest galaxies of the universe, and within our own solar system.
- Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx), a smaller telescope than LUVOIR with a 4-8 meter (13-26 foot) primary mirror and instruments sensitive to ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared light to find worlds outside our solar system that could harbor life. HabEx could fly with a coronagraph, a component inside the telescope to mask starlight and reveal faint reflections from planets, or a starshade, a separate vehicle flying in formation with the telescope to blot out starlight.
- Origins Space Telescope, a far-infrared surveyor with a primary mirror up to 9 meters (30 feet) in diameter that would be a successor to NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory. The Origins Space Telescope will investigate how galaxies, stars and planets form, search for water and greenhouse gases on exoplanets, and study interstellar dust.
- The Lynx X-ray telescope, following in the footsteps of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton mission, will study the dawn of the first black holes, and the epoch of reionization, when the first galaxies and light sources emerged after the Big Bang.
The LUVOIR space telescope would be the closest to a successor of Hubble, covering a similar range of wavelengths. It is also similar in size to two recent proposals: the High Definition Space Telescope (HDST) and the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST).
The JWST was not designed to be serviceable and will likely only last for 5-10 years after its planned launch in October 2018. It has a 6.5 meter primary mirror. Hubble has been operating since 1990 but only has a 2.4 meter primary mirror.
The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope will launch in the 2020s.
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.
Also at Science Magazine.
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