Add to that the spacecraft's complex transition from its launch configuration, during which its large sunshield and primary mirror will be folded up, to its final design, with a 6.5-meter primary mirror (Hubble's is just over 2 meters) and a sunshield spanning almost 70 x 47 feet (21 x 14 meters), and testing the telescope's many components becomes vital. This board joins asthe second board established by NASA, the first being the Standing Review Board.
NASA will then consider the board's findings and recommendations, looking into it and then define a more specific time for the launch frame. "NASA will then provide its assessment in a report to Congress this summer". Nasa will need to negotiate a new launch date with the European Space Agency, which runs the spaceport in French Guiana where the telescope is supposed to lift off. That is likely to push the cost of the mission - the most complex space-science telescope ever built - over the US$8-billion limit set by the US Congress.
"Additional steps to address project challenges include increasing NASA engineering oversight, personnel changes, and new management reporting structures", NASA added.
The structures are created to fold up origami-style to fit within the Ariane 5 rocket's nose cone, then perform a high-risk deployment in orbit.
"Webb has already completed an extensive range of tests to ensure it will safely reach its orbit at almost one million miles from Earth and perform its science mission". As with all NASA projects, rigorous testing takes time, increasing the likelihood of mission success.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said, "Considering the investment NASA and our worldwide partners have made, we want to proceed systematically through these last tests, with the additional time necessary, to be ready for a May 2020 launch".
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The James Webb Space Telescope is undergoing final integration and testing that will require more time to ensure a successful mission. Both halves of the 13,500-pound observatory now are together in the same facility for the first time.
Among the tests to which the telescope is subjected, Webb must be exposed to the vibrations, noise, and extreme temperatures similar to what it will experience during its launch and its mission. These tests will take a few months to complete. NASA and Northrop Grumman have identified fixes for these problems, but their repair has added months of delays to the project, and engineers can not be sure that more issues will not crop up during further testing.
Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said, "We have a 70 percent confidence level for the May 2020 launch date". ESA is providing the Ariane 5 as part of its scientific collaboration with NASA. The observatory will solve mysteries of our solar system, according to NASA.
The project was summoned by Congress which also sanctioned required funding for the telescope that will replace the quarter-century-old Hubble Space Telescope.
" Following information from an independent analysis, NASA has actually figured out that the Webb launch day landmark will certainly be postponed from its standard by greater than 6 months, and also its growth price quote could go beyond the 8 billion [buck] advancement limitation", Lightfoot claimed at today's press conference.