WFIRST, proposed for cancellation, is approved for development [spacenews.com]
NASA has approved a major astrophysics mission to go into the next phase of its development even as the administration seeks once again to cancel it.
NASA announced March 2 that the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) has passed a review known as Key Decision Point C, which confirms development plans for the mission and allows it to move into full-scale hardware production and testing.
That milestone is when the agency also sets a baseline cost and schedule commitment for the mission. NASA said in its statement about the review that the mission would cost $3.2 billion through its launch, a cost cap previously set by NASA. The cost when including five years of science operations, as well as a coronagraph instrument deemed a technology demonstration by NASA, increases to $3.934 billion.
However, NASA did not announce a launch date for the mission because its fiscal year 2021 budget request proposes to cancel WFIRST. "The Administration is not ready to proceed with another multi-billion-dollar telescope until Webb has been successfully launched and deployed," NASA said in its statement, a reference to the James Webb Space Telescope scheduled for launch in March 2021. NASA used the same statement in its 2021 budget request to explain why it sought no funding for the mission.
Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope [wikipedia.org] (WFIRST).
Previously: WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs [soylentnews.org]
Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST [soylentnews.org]
NASA Gets Money it Didn't Ask for to Fund Second SLS Mobile Launcher; WFIRST Mission Receives Funds [soylentnews.org]
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope Delayed Again, This Time to March 2021, Cost at $9.66 Billion [soylentnews.org]
NASA Administrator at House Hearing: WFIRST Could be Delayed to Help Pay for JWST [soylentnews.org]