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James Webb Space Telescope

Grey Havoc

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I thought we had a thread for the JWST already, but I couldn't find it. Ah well.

Via the Daily Telegraph:
Scientists put the kite-shaped foil sunshield for the James Webb Space Telescope through its paces in the Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, California. This sunshield is the largest part of JWST and offers intense protection from the Sun, letting through less than a millionth of the Sun's heat.
Picture: EPA/NASA / Chris Gunn
 

sferrin

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God I hope the launcher doesn't blow up on the way up.
 

Grey Havoc

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http://gizmodo.com/aww-yeah-the-james-webb-space-telescope-has-half-its-m-1750502325​
 

jeffb

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sferrin said:
God I hope the launcher doesn't blow up on the way up.
Jeez, don't jinx it Sferrin! Throw salt over your shoulder or something.
 

Kiltonge

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Re: launcher accidents

I once asked an ESA manager why they didn't build two of everything as a back-up; after all, once the R&D is completed the incremental cost of building another set of components is usually much lower than building the first set.

His reply was that the expenditure, no matter if it was only a few extra %, simply wouldn't be approved without a business case. Instead they add physical loss cover to the insurance for the launch ( though it wasn't clear if this was actually any cheaper than just building a back-up ).

I suspect in the black-budget World, where insurance might be 'difficult', they rely more on physical back-ups.
 

Grey Havoc

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From an article about a proposed follow-on to the JWT:


ORIGINAL CAPTION: Scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope. It’s huge! Image Credit: Northrop Grumman


http://gizmodo.com/astronomers-want-to-build-a-forty-foot-space-telescope-1751398471​
 

sferrin

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Interesting how it's configuration is so different from Hubble.
 

TomS

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No surprise there, since it's a very different sort of instrument. It's primarily an infrared rather than optical telescope, which is why all the sunshields under the mirror assembly.
 

Hobbes

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Kiltonge said:
Re: launcher accidents

I once asked an ESA manager why they didn't build two of everything as a back-up; after all, once the R&D is completed the incremental cost of building another set of components is usually much lower than building the first set.

His reply was that the expenditure, no matter if it was only a few extra %, simply wouldn't be approved without a business case. Instead they add physical loss cover to the insurance for the launch ( though it wasn't clear if this was actually any cheaper than just building a back-up ).

I suspect in the black-budget World, where insurance might be 'difficult', they rely more on physical back-ups.
The insurance cost is related to the failure rate of the rocket. If that is 5%, you can expect the insurance cost to be in the region of 5% of building the original satellite.
Building a second copy will be cheaper than building the original, but I suspect that the cost savings is less than 95%.

Governments usually don't insure their launches; they have the money to pay for a replacement.
In the black-budget world, availability rather than cost will be the deciding factor: can they afford to wait 2 years for another satellite to be built?
 

FighterJock

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TomS said:
No surprise there, since it's a very different sort of instrument. It's primarily an infrared rather than optical telescope, which is why all the sunshields under the mirror assembly.
They are supposedly looking at an advanced optical telescope post James Webb to be launched sometime 2020/2030s if they can get the funding, the mirror is supposed to be about 18 meters across and to be able to fold away for launch.
 

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Hopefully someone did (or will do) a full aperture wavefront test on this thing rather than hoping for no repeat of Hubble when they discovered an error in the primary mirror. The subaperture elements would be easy to test (albeit 3 different off axis surface shapes) but testing the whole thing to verify the intersegment registration system would be critical. Finding out you have a problem with the telescope when it is 1 million miles from Earth would be a nonfixable event. It would be expensive to do this at 1G but the process of getting all the mirror segments aligned to a common curvature within nanometers is a functional requirement for this thing to work.
 

TomS

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https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasas-webb-pathfinder-telescope-successfully-completes-second-super-cold-optical-test
 

Grey Havoc

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http://gizmodo.com/this-robotic-arm-slips-james-webbs-mirrors-exactly-wher-1755608344


http://io9.gizmodo.com/5874571/watch-the-assembly-of-the-james-webb-space-telescope--live-via-webb-cam#_ga=1.248986702.893219046.1403548067
 

sferrin

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Damn. That makes building aircraft look like framing a house by comparison. :eek:
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.space.com/31838-james-webb-space-telescope-mirror-assembled.html​
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NASAs_Next_Great_Space_Telescope_999.html
 

fredymac

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If everything goes right, the JWST will only have a 10 year lifespan based on how long the cryogenic coolant will last. I haven't read anywhere about the cryo tanks being modular and replaceable in-situ. If they were, it would be a useful candidate for an Orion re-supply mission unless a robot could do it. Of course, after 10 years they might want to swap out the instruments too and replace any broken momentum wheels but I have a feeling that thoughts of re-supply of an L2 based telescope were not in consideration when this thing was designed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RWLLSW6dKQ
 

fredymac

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From the video description:
"Into the Unknown tells the story of the building of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – a revolutionary observatory, 100 times more powerful and the scientific successor to the Hubble Telescope."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnpZzPAsz1U
 

Grey Havoc

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http://gizmodo.com/why-the-hell-does-the-james-webb-space-telescope-look-h-1793377794
 

Grey Havoc

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http://gizmodo.com/behold-the-james-webb-telescope-in-all-its-unfurled-glo-1794627304​
 

FighterJock

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Grey Havoc said:

http://gizmodo.com/behold-the-james-webb-telescope-in-all-its-unfurled-glo-1794627304​
First time I have seen the James Webb Space Telescope completed and unfurled, it has certainly got a big primary mirror.
 

Flyaway

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Spaceport schedule conflict could delay JWST launch

At a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council’s science committee July 24, Alan Boss, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution and a member of the Astrophysics Advisory Committee, warned that BepiColombo could take precedence over JWST for that October 2018 launch slot.

“BepiColombo has rights to launch before James Webb does,” he said in a summary of a meeting of that advisory committee earlier in the month.
While the Ariane 5 is capable of flying at a relatively high cadence — three Ariane 5 rockets launched in May and June of this year — the extensive payload processing requirements of both BepiColombo and JWST appear to rule out launching both missions around the same time.

“It’s unclear if BepiColombo will be out of the way” before JWST arrives at Kourou for launch preparations, Boss said. He believed JWST needed three to six months of “full access” to facilities at Kourou to prepare for launch. “You really want to have BepiColombo long gone before you move in and start taking over.”

If BepiColombo sticks to its current schedule, that could mean delaying JWST by several months. “There’s some concern that that October 2018 launch may actually slip into the spring of 2019,” he said.

That schedule conflict is due in part to delays in the development of BepiColombo. The mission’s launch has slipped several times in the last decade. In 2007, when ESA approved moving the mission into its development phase, it was expected to launch on a Soyuz rocket in 2013.
Boss noted BepiColombo’s delays in his presentation, suggesting that the mission could face additional delays. ESA officials, though, said at an event in early July that the spacecraft was on scheduled to ship to French Guiana in early 2018 to being final launch preparations.

“We are looking forward to completing the final tests this year, and shipping to Kourou on schedule,” Ulrich Reininghaus, project manager for BepiColombo at ESA, said in a July 6 statement about the completion of the latest series of tests of the spacecraft. That statement added that the launch schedule for the mission would be confirmed later this year.
Additional problems, however, could lead to delays in JWST regardless of any launch site conflicts. “There’s some concern that they might be running out of funded schedule reserve,” Boss said, particularly as the project goes into critical final assembly and testing activities. “There’s some concern, but the JWST folks are confident they will overcome the remaining hurdles and get it done on time.”
http://spacenews.com/spaceport-schedule-conflict-could-delay-jwst-launch/
 

FighterJock

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Flyaway said:
Spaceport schedule conflict could delay JWST launch

At a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council’s science committee July 24, Alan Boss, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution and a member of the Astrophysics Advisory Committee, warned that BepiColombo could take precedence over JWST for that October 2018 launch slot.

“BepiColombo has rights to launch before James Webb does,” he said in a summary of a meeting of that advisory committee earlier in the month.
While the Ariane 5 is capable of flying at a relatively high cadence — three Ariane 5 rockets launched in May and June of this year — the extensive payload processing requirements of both BepiColombo and JWST appear to rule out launching both missions around the same time.

“It’s unclear if BepiColombo will be out of the way” before JWST arrives at Kourou for launch preparations, Boss said. He believed JWST needed three to six months of “full access” to facilities at Kourou to prepare for launch. “You really want to have BepiColombo long gone before you move in and start taking over.”

If BepiColombo sticks to its current schedule, that could mean delaying JWST by several months. “There’s some concern that that October 2018 launch may actually slip into the spring of 2019,” he said.

That schedule conflict is due in part to delays in the development of BepiColombo. The mission’s launch has slipped several times in the last decade. In 2007, when ESA approved moving the mission into its development phase, it was expected to launch on a Soyuz rocket in 2013.
Boss noted BepiColombo’s delays in his presentation, suggesting that the mission could face additional delays. ESA officials, though, said at an event in early July that the spacecraft was on scheduled to ship to French Guiana in early 2018 to being final launch preparations.

“We are looking forward to completing the final tests this year, and shipping to Kourou on schedule,” Ulrich Reininghaus, project manager for BepiColombo at ESA, said in a July 6 statement about the completion of the latest series of tests of the spacecraft. That statement added that the launch schedule for the mission would be confirmed later this year.
Additional problems, however, could lead to delays in JWST regardless of any launch site conflicts. “There’s some concern that they might be running out of funded schedule reserve,” Boss said, particularly as the project goes into critical final assembly and testing activities. “There’s some concern, but the JWST folks are confident they will overcome the remaining hurdles and get it done on time.”
http://spacenews.com/spaceport-schedule-conflict-could-delay-jwst-launch/
That is bad news for the James Webb Space Telescope, hope that they get the launch conflict sorted out.
 

Flyaway

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Aligning the Primary Mirror Segments of the James Webb Space Telescope

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
Published on Sep 21, 2017

Engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston used light waves to align the James Webb Space Telescope’s mirror segments to each other, so they act like a single, monolithic mirror in the cryogenic cold of the center’s iconic Chamber A.

Part of the Webb telescope’s ongoing cryogenic testing in Chamber A at Johnson includes aligning, or “phasing,” the telescope’s 18 hexagonally shaped primary mirror segments so they function as a single 6.5-meter mirror. All of these segments must have the correct position and correct curvature; otherwise, the telescope will not be able to accurately focus on its celestial targets.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dh41uouutU
 

Flyaway

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to be Launched Spring 2019
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope now is planning to launch between March and June 2019 from French Guiana, following a schedule assessment of the remaining integration and test activities. Previously Webb was targeted to launch in October 2018.

“The change in launch timing is not indicative of hardware or technical performance concerns,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington. “Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected.”

As part of an international agreement with the ESA (European Space Agency) to provide a desired launch window one year prior to launch, NASA recently performed a routine schedule assessment to ensure launch preparedness and determined a launch schedule change was necessary. The careful analysis took into account the remaining tasks that needed to be completed, the lessons learned from unique environmental testing of the telescope and science instruments at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the current performance rates of integrating the spacecraft element.

Testing of the telescope and science instruments continues to go well and on schedule at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The spacecraft itself, comprised of the spacecraft bus and sunshield, has experienced delays during its integration and testing at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.

The additional environmental testing time of the fully assembled observatory--the telescope and the spacecraft--will ensure that Webb will be fully tested before launching into space. All the rigorous tests of the telescope and the spacecraft to date show the mission is meeting its required performance levels.

Existing program budget accommodates the change in launch date, and the change will not affect planned science observations.

“Webb’s spacecraft and sunshield are larger and more complex than most spacecraft. The combination of some integration activities taking longer than initially planned, such as the installation of more than 100 sunshield membrane release devices, factoring in lessons learned from earlier testing, like longer time spans for vibration testing, has meant the integration and testing process is just taking longer,” said Eric Smith, program director for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Considering the investment NASA has made, and the good performance to date, we want to proceed very systemmatically through these tests to be ready for a Spring 2019 launch.”

The launch window request has been coordinated with ESA, which is providing the Ariane 5 launch of Webb as part of its scientific collaboration with NASA.

The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s next great multi-purpose observatory and will be the world’s most powerful space telescope ever built, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. The 21-foot (6.5-meter) diameter infrared-optimized telescope is designed to study an extremely wide range of astrophysical phenomena: the first stars and galaxies that formed; the atmospheres of nearby planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets; and objects within our own solar system. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-james-webb-space-telescope-to-be-launched-spring-2019
 

FighterJock

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Flyaway said:
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to be Launched Spring 2019
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope now is planning to launch between March and June 2019 from French Guiana, following a schedule assessment of the remaining integration and test activities. Previously Webb was targeted to launch in October 2018.

“The change in launch timing is not indicative of hardware or technical performance concerns,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington. “Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected.”

As part of an international agreement with the ESA (European Space Agency) to provide a desired launch window one year prior to launch, NASA recently performed a routine schedule assessment to ensure launch preparedness and determined a launch schedule change was necessary. The careful analysis took into account the remaining tasks that needed to be completed, the lessons learned from unique environmental testing of the telescope and science instruments at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the current performance rates of integrating the spacecraft element.

Testing of the telescope and science instruments continues to go well and on schedule at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The spacecraft itself, comprised of the spacecraft bus and sunshield, has experienced delays during its integration and testing at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.

The additional environmental testing time of the fully assembled observatory--the telescope and the spacecraft--will ensure that Webb will be fully tested before launching into space. All the rigorous tests of the telescope and the spacecraft to date show the mission is meeting its required performance levels.

Existing program budget accommodates the change in launch date, and the change will not affect planned science observations.

“Webb’s spacecraft and sunshield are larger and more complex than most spacecraft. The combination of some integration activities taking longer than initially planned, such as the installation of more than 100 sunshield membrane release devices, factoring in lessons learned from earlier testing, like longer time spans for vibration testing, has meant the integration and testing process is just taking longer,” said Eric Smith, program director for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Considering the investment NASA has made, and the good performance to date, we want to proceed very systemmatically through these tests to be ready for a Spring 2019 launch.”

The launch window request has been coordinated with ESA, which is providing the Ariane 5 launch of Webb as part of its scientific collaboration with NASA.

The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s next great multi-purpose observatory and will be the world’s most powerful space telescope ever built, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. The 21-foot (6.5-meter) diameter infrared-optimized telescope is designed to study an extremely wide range of astrophysical phenomena: the first stars and galaxies that formed; the atmospheres of nearby planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets; and objects within our own solar system. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-james-webb-space-telescope-to-be-launched-spring-2019
A shame that NASA could not stick with the original launch window date of next October. Something to look forward too come Spring 2019.
 

Flyaway

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I am increasingly doubtful JWST will launch this decade.

Is the James Webb Space Telescope "Too Big to Fail?"

To help satisfy any doubts about JWST’s status, the project is headed for an independent review as soon as January 2018, advised NASA’s science chief Thomas Zurbuchen during an early December congressional hearing. Pressed by legislators about whether JWST will actually launch as presently planned in spring of 2019, he said, “at this moment in time, with the information that I have, I believe it’s achievable.”
During the December congressional hearing on JWST and other future NASA space telescopes, Space Subcommittee chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) questioned the decision to send JWST to space by way of the Ariane 5 rocket “instead of a reliable U.S. launch vehicle.” He also asked about the risks associated with transporting the telescope to the European launch site in South America.
When asked by Scientific American, two senior members of NASA’s JWST team provided assurances. Jon Lawrence, JWST mechanical systems lead engineer/launch vehicle liaison at NASA Goddard and Eric Smith, program director and program scientist for JWST at NASA headquarters, jointly offered a carefully optimistic take.
“The consequences are almost too horrific to imagine,” says Jack Burns, professor of astrophysics and planetary science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “The thought of over $8 billion of taxpayer funding being lost [would] have potential dire consequences for NASA and for astrophysics. There [would] be multiple committee hearings on Capitol Hill and independent panels assembled to investigate,” he says.
Those investigations, Burns says, would follow a long and winding road of accusations and denials that would be made all the worse by the absence of JWST’s foremost congressional champion, Barbara Mikulski, a veteran Democratic senator from Maryland who recently retired from public service.
Increasingly, however, there are rumblings that JWST may not even make its planned launch in 2019. During December’s congressional hearing, Thomas Young, a former director of NASA Goddard and a member of the National Academies Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics said JWST could still experience further disruptions.
While JWST continues to make progress toward launch, Chaplain warned the program is encountering technical challenges that require both time and money to fix and may lead to additional delays. “Given the risks associated with the integration and test work ahead, coupled with a level of schedule reserves that is currently well below the level stated in the procedural requirements issued by the NASA center responsible for managing JWST, additional delays to the project’s revised launch readiness date of June 2019 are likely,” she stated in written testimony.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-james-webb-space-telescope-too-big-to-fail/
 

sferrin

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"Space Subcommittee chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) questioned the decision to send JWST to space by way of the Ariane 5 rocket “instead of a reliable U.S. launch vehicle.” "

Just what we need, some idiotic politician sticking his oar in the water about something he knows nothing. That's sure to end well.
 

Flyaway

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sferrin said:
"Space Subcommittee chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) questioned the decision to send JWST to space by way of the Ariane 5 rocket “instead of a reliable U.S. launch vehicle.” "

Just what we need, some idiotic politician sticking his oar in the water about something he knows nothing. That's sure to end well.
It was certainly a more jingoistic comment than anything else.
 

Moose

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sferrin said:
"Space Subcommittee chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) questioned the decision to send JWST to space by way of the Ariane 5 rocket “instead of a reliable U.S. launch vehicle.” "

Just what we need, some idiotic politician sticking his oar in the water about something he knows nothing. That's sure to end well.
Welcome to the new normal.
 

sferrin

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Moose said:
sferrin said:
"Space Subcommittee chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) questioned the decision to send JWST to space by way of the Ariane 5 rocket “instead of a reliable U.S. launch vehicle.” "

Just what we need, some idiotic politician sticking his oar in the water about something he knows nothing. That's sure to end well.
Welcome to the new normal.
What's "new" about it? I seem to remember a Robert McNamara pulling the same crap back in the day. Gotta replace everything with the F-111 and hey, let's pick the GD design (built in Johnson's state) rather than the superior Boeing TFX. Can we just agree that politicians jamming their noses in places they don't understand rarely ends well and leave it at that? ::)
 

TomS

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seruriermarshal said:
Why they don't use Delta IV-H ?
Because ESA is paying for the launch.
 

TomS

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Because they wanted to participate in the program and this is one area they agreed with NASA to share costs. ESA is also providing a couple of the sensors, as is the Canadian Space Agency.
 

Flyaway

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James Webb Space Telescope’s Multifaceted MIRI


James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
Published on Jan 25, 2018

The mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has both a camera and a spectrograph that sees light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, with wavelengths that are longer than our eyes see.

MIRI covers the wavelength range of 5 to 28.5 microns. Its sensitive detectors will allow it to see the redshifted light of distant galaxies, helping identify the first galaxies in the universe, observe newly forming stars by peering inside dust-shrouded stellar nurseries, and analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets for markers of potential life. MIRI's camera will provide wide-field, broadband imaging that will return breathtaking astrophotography.

MIRI was built by the MIRI Consortium (a group that consists of scientists and engineers from European countries), a team from the Jet Propulsion Lab in California, and scientists from several U.S. institutions.

Credits:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Aaron E. Lepsch (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Technical Support
Adriana Manrique Gutierrez (USRA): Animator
Michael McClare (KBRwyle): Producer
Sophia Roberts (AIMM): Videographer
Sophia Roberts (AIMM): Cinematographer
Rob Andreoli (AIMM): Videographer
Rob Andreoli (AIMM): Cinematographer
Michael P. Menzel (AIMM): Producer
Michael P. Menzel (AIMM): Interviewer
Michael P. Menzel (AIMM): Video Editor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYIfmAbkk4k
 

Flyaway

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James Webb Space Telescope:
Integration and Test Challenges Have Delayed Launch and Threaten to Push Costs Over Cap


The James Webb Space Telescope, the planned successor to the Hubble Telescope, is one of NASA’s most complex and expensive projects.

NASA recently announced that JWST's launch would be delayed several months, from October 2018 to no later than June 2019, because components of the telescope are taking longer to integrate than planned.

Based on the amount of work NASA has to complete before JWST is ready to launch, we found that it's likely the launch date will be delayed again. If that happens, the project will be at risk of exceeding the $8 billion cost cap set by Congress.
https://www.gao.gov/mobile/products/GAO-18-273?
 

Flyaway

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I claim my ten pounds as I’ve been predicting since the announcement of the previous delay that JWST would slip to 2020.

NASA delays JWST launch to 2020

Among the problems described by Dennis Andrucyk, deputy associate administrator in NASA’s science mission directorate, include contamination of values in thrusters on the spacecraft bus, a problem identified last summer. “We didn’t know what that impact would be at the time” of the previous delay, he said, adding that the valves have since been refurbished and reinstalled.

Another issue has been problems with the deployment of the sunshield, a five-layer membrane the size of a tennis court designed to keep the telescope cold while in space. Deploying and then stowing the sunshield took about twice as long as original expected, with two more “deploy and stow” operations yet to take place.

During those tests, tensioning problems with the cables created what Zurbuchen called a “snagging hazard” that resulted in several small tears in all five layers of the sunshield membrane. Andrucyk said they’re making modifications such as the installation of Kapton springs to ensure the cables remain tensioned and “doghouse” mechanical fixtures that constrain any slack the cables might still develop.
http://spacenews.com/nasa-delays-jwst-launch-to-2020/
 

sferrin

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I'd rather delay it to 2020 than "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" and have a non-functional JWST in orbit in 2018.
 
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