• We hope all of you have a great holiday season and an incredible New Year. Thanks so much for being part of the Space community!

The James Webb Space Telescope conundrum

Status
Not open for further replies.
D

docm

Guest
Where have we heard this before :roll:

Orlando Sentinel.....

Webb Space Telescope promises new look at universe — if NASA can get it into space

Hubble replacement plagued by delays, cost overruns


WASHINGTON — When it works, and if it works, the James Webb Space Telescope could revolutionize astronomy by peering so deep into space that scientists soon could study the dawn of time.

But construction of NASA's next big telescope has been so hurt by delays and cost overruns that even its staunchest champion in Congress reached a breaking point.

In a letter dated June 29, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., all but ordered NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden to assemble a panel of outside experts to ensure the Webb project doesn't break its latest promise: a 2014 launch on a $5 billion budget.

"We like the concept of the Webb, but I tell you, we're not in the overrun business," said Mikulski, who chairs the Senate subcommittee with oversight of NASA's budget.
>
>
"When Webb bleeds, the rest of space science hemorrhages," said Michael Turner, one of the report's authors and a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

Smaller robotic missions have suffered because of cost overruns with Webb, Turner said. But the project has been kept alive by expectations about what it can do and the need to replace the popular Hubble Space Telescope, which could end operations as early as 2014.
>
>
"If we had to do it over again, would we do it differently? Of course," he said, referring to NASA's decision to rely too heavily on experimental technologies when designing the Webb. "But we're not building Model T's here."
 
S

SteveCNC

Guest
Isn't cost over-run business as usual in government run contracts like this ? or am I missing something

maybe they are milking it a bit and someones miffed they can't squeeze more money out of the suppliers or who knows why but to me it dosen't look any different than a typical day for government . In the private sector there are bids made and you bid a price people hold you to it , none of this over-run bs , people know what thing's cost ahead of time .
 
E

Executor

Guest
Cost overruns on the Webb space telescope are one of the main reasons why the Space Interferometry Mission and Terrestrial Planet Finder projects were scuttled. The Webb I believe was originally supposed to cost only about $1.5 billion, and to keep it afloat NASA had to drain the other telescopes of funds. And if you think the Webb will come in handy in detecting exoplanets, don't worry, the coronograph that was originally intended to be installed on the Webb was cancelled to conserve money, so unless that exoplanet orbits its star at a distance of a light-year, the Webb ain't going to be of much use.
 
Y

Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
This is pathetic. Now they don't even have the testicular fortitude to get a good telescope up there, nevermind manned missions beyond LEO.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
From what I've read, the next space telescope was originally proposed to have a 4 meter mirror that could have been been launched fully assembled years ago, but Dan Golden arbitrarily bumped it up to 8 meters, requiring the deployable mirror and increasing cost and development time. There's a lot to look at. Science might have benefited more from having a more incremental approach that would put more telescopes in orbit much sooner, making more time available for more investigators. Engineers might have learned more by getting new ideas in orbit more often and thus not having to rely so much on ground-based testing.
 
E

Executor

Guest
ATLAST is merely a proposal, and for the 2025-2035 time period, so once you count all the inevitable delays, it'll be 2040 at the earliest before we see it in orbit.
 
Y

Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
Executor":1ku0dfxw said:
ATLAST is merely a proposal, and for the 2025-2035 time period, so once you count all the inevitable delays, it'll be 2040 at the earliest before we see it in orbit.
That's a bit pessmistic, hopefully they can get it up there sooner than that. But delays are the order of the day when it comes to anything major happening in space.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
ATLAST would be launched either of the Ares V or from "NASA facilities capable of launching EELVs"? Those would be?

Launching an 8m monolithic mirror would be a bit of a challenge.... ambitious science is great but without precursor missions and design evolution the risk of cost growth is high. We don't even have a simple earth observation system on the ISS yet.
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
vulture4":1mvs9fsa said:
We don't even have a simple earth observation system on the ISS yet.
How about this :
Wiki : Window Observational Research Facility
The Window Observational Research Facility (WORF) provides a facility by which remotely operated payloads and crew members can perform Earth and space science research, including hand held photography, at the U.S. Laboratory Science Window on the International Space Station.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
My point exactly. Hand-help photography is a long way from the level of earth observation the ISS was intended to provide. That doesn't mean it won't happen, rather that it's a major capability of practical value that could be developed at low cost but has had very little funding in spite of various proposals. Multispectral earth observation payloads could be mounted on the truss, for example; the window is adequate for initial concept testing but imposes various limitations. For astronomy some sensors could be mounted on the ISS itself for rapid testing of new sensors and instruments; those requiring cleaner environments could co-orbit near the ISS where they can be retrieved as needed for servicing.

The goal of this strategy would be to permit much more data gathering both for earth observation and astronomy, and continuous evolution of instrument design rather than individual high-stakes missions costing billions. These concepts were proposed many years ago during the initial development of the Space Station concept.
 
H

halman

Guest
What happens when the government is your only customer, and all of your products are unique creations? Most of the contractors on the Webb do not deal with everyday people as customers, and their product lines are very limited. Getting every penny possible out of a contract is essential for survival. This is one of the drawbacks to the Defense orientation that our country has, because there is so little science spending to support the high tech companies. If the U.S. would spend more on space, it would get more for every dollar spent.

The majority of NASA spending seems to me to be corporate welfare, programs which are never intended for production, just research that will keep a company from going under for a little longer.
 
K

kk434

Guest
I think that the whole project is underfunded, i think that the HST costed 10 bilion $ and weights 10 tones, JWST is both smaller and only half the price. The Key Hole satelites are suposed to be Hubble sized and they ar about 10 in orbit, too bad the military can spend so much money and NASA only a tiny amount.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY