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NASA Administrator at House Hearing: WFIRST Could be Delayed to Help Pay for JWST

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-07-26 15:00:08

At a two-part hearing discussing the future of the James Webb Space Telescope [] (JWST), NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine proposed reducing the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope's (WFIRST []) budget by about a third in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to help fund the cost-overrun JWST []:

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said July 25 that, in order to address the delays and cost overruns with the James Webb Space Telescope, the agency may seek to slow down development of another flagship astrophysics mission.

Testifying before the House Science Committee in the first half of a two-part hearing on JWST, Bridenstine suggested that slowing down work on the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) until after JWST is launched could be a way to deal with JWST's increased cost while maintaining a "balanced portfolio" of large and small astrophysics programs.

"The idea of WFIRST presumed that JWST would be on orbit and delivering science," he said. "So it is my recommendation that we move forward with WFIRST after we move forward with JWST."

"It is true we can do some development now. I'm not saying that we need to shut down WFIRST, and we shouldn't do it," he added. "What I'm saying is there's opportunity here."

The second part of the hearing will involve questioning of Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush on the 26th.

See also: NASA's next great space telescope is stuck on Earth after screwy errors []

Previously: WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs []
Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST []
House Spending Bill Offers NASA More Money Than the Agency or Administration Wanted []
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed Again, This Time to March 2021, Cost at $9.66 Billion []

Original Submission