NASA says the launch of its flagship James Webb Space Telescope is being rescheduled for no earlier than 2021, with its total price tag boosted to $9.66 billion.
That price tag includes a development cost of $8.8 billion, which breaks the $8 billion development cost cap mandated by Congress in 2011. That was the last time the Webb project went through a do-or-die debate.
“Congress will have to reauthorize Webb through this next cycle of authorization,” NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk said today during a teleconference announcing the reset.
NASA officials strongly supported going ahead with the telescope, which is in the latter stages of testing and assembly. The general-purpose telescope is expected to build on the trailblazing observations of the Hubble Space Telescope and provide unprecedented insights about exoplanets and the farthest frontiers of the observable universe.