It is intended to be NASA’s next great observatory, featuring a large mirror that will be formed by multiple individual segments moving into place and protected by a sunscreen. Webb’s instruments would be sensitive to a region of the infrared that should allow it to image everything from the Universe’s first galaxies to the atmospheres of nearby exoplanets. The launch was delayed until 2021 because some errors were detected, due to various aspects of the human’s work. The delay will add about $800 million to the telescope’s $8 billion price tag.
“We’re all disappointed that the culmination of Webb and its launch is taking longer than expected, but we’re creating something new here. We’re dealing with cutting-edge technology to perform an unprecedented mission, and I know that our teams are working hard and will successfully overcome the challenges,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a video statement. The project will need additional funds in 2020 and 2021. The telescope was originally announced as a successor to Hubble in early 1996, and put into development in 1999, with a predicted launch as early as 2007. Moving ahead with the Webb telescope is important for advancements in astronomy. But ensuring every element of Webb functions properly before it gets to space is critical to its success,” Tom Young, a former agency manager and aerospace executive said.