The launch date for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (allegedly the most powerful space observatory in the world), has been pushed back yet again from its goal launch date in spring 2019 to May 2020.
Named after NASA’s second administrator, James E. Webb, the deep space telescope is reportedly strong enough to see into the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system, and some of the earliest stars and galaxies.
But first, it has to get off the ground.
A telescope two decades in the making
First envisioned in 1996, JWST was initially expected to cost between $1B and $3.5B with a goal launch sometime between 2007 and 2011.
But the cost of the project grew as the launch was consistently postponed, and in 2011 a massive replan was issued; Congress capped the telescope’s budget at $8B, and a new launch date of 2018 was set.
Now, 2 launch dates later, NASA believes they’re gonna exceed their budget yet again, which means Congress will have to reauthorize the program to continue.
But don’t worry, space nerds, it’s not likely to get scrapped.
They’re already in too deep
Despite the telescope’s numerous delays, and NASA having to repeatedly ask dad for more money, if they turned back now they’d be throwing away $7.3B that NASA has already invested thus far.
While the delays have been frustrating for everyone involved, scientists haven’t given up hope that it will someday make a home peeking into the universe’s deepest depths.
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