Launch of NASA’s new flagship space telescope is delayed — again

Not for the first time, NASA will postpone the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope by at least a year, to May 2020, the agency announced Tuesday.

The delay may increase the cost of the mission — the bigger and more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope — beyond the $8 billion funding cap established by law. If that happens, the JWST will need to be reapproved by Congress. It's yet another setback for the ambitious but beleaguered mission, which has been in the works since 1996.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said the delay is required to deal with issues that arose as the telescope components were brought together at the Redondo Beach, Calif., facility of Northrop Grumman, the project's main contractor. Tests of some of the spacecraft's main components, particularly the tennis-court-size sun shield, have taken longer than expected. In addition, “a few mistakes happened,” Zurbuchen said, prolonging the integration and testing phase.
Source - washing ton post

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