JWST In Deep Space NASAThe James Webb Space Telescope threatens to eat the budgets of other missions
Huge cost overruns caused by mismanagement of the James Webb Space Telescope are delaying NASA's keystone science project yet again, and could wreak havoc on the agency's remaining astrophysics budget, a congressional panel found this week.
"This is NASA's Hurricane Katrina," astronomer Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., told Science News.
The JWST, the successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope, will cost $1.5 billion more than current estimates and will be delayed until at least 2015, according to a seven-member review panel. That brings the price tag to $6.5 billion, and the telescope is already years behind schedule. What's worse, the project needs $400 million right away to have any hope of meeting a 2015 launch.
Heads will roll over this mess - NASA administrator Charles Bolden said this week that he was reorganizing the JWST project and installing a new boss to oversee the changes. But more significant will be the impacts on NASA's other programs, especially astrophysics research.
JWST already consumes almost half of NASA's Astrophysics Division budget, according to Boss, who was ...