I don’t see how this thing survives the budget-and-throat cutting mania that has conveniently gripped the political and traditional media class ever since a democrat came into power. And for that I’m conflicted:
“NASA has completed a JWST replan that assumes a revised life-cycle-cost of about $8.7 billion and a launch readiness date of October 2018,” agency spokesman Trent Perrotto said in an Aug. 26 email to Space News. “The $8.7 billion life-cycle-cost includes development, launch, and five years of operations and science costs.”
Translation, it will cost more than $8.7 billion and it won’t be ready until after 2018. That’s just how these deals work. The JWST is a big quantum leap in space telescopes. So was the Hubble of course. But unlike Hubble, JWST is millions of miles distant with electronics and optics far ahead of anything we’ve done to date. If something goes wrong, there won’t be a repair mission for many years, if ever. Other critics have pointed out the price tag, as high as $10 billion dollars, has to come at the expense of a suite of exciting unmanned missions in the works.
But some at NASA are convinced it will be a public relations coup like Hubble. And the science JWST might return if it ever is launched and it does work would be the awesome sauce of awesome sauce.