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How Much NASA’s Webb Telescope Cost to Build and Launch


Building the world’s most powerful space telescope has been a bit difficult.

Webb’s 18 gold-plated hexagonal mirrors, advanced temperature controllers and ultrasensitive infrared sensors were pieced together in a development timeline filled with cost overruns and technical hurdles. Engineers had to invent 10 new technologies along the way to make the telescope far more sensitive than its predecessor, Hubble.

When NASA picked the Northrop Grumman company to lead Webb’s construction in 2002, mission managers estimated that it would cost $1 billion to $3.5 billion and launch to space in 2010. Over-optimistic schedule projections, occasional development accidents and disorganized cost reporting dragged the timeline out to 2021 and ballooned the overall cost to $10 billion.


Circassia News

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