Skip to comments.Who Should Pay for the Mistakes on NASA’s Next Big Telescope?
Posted on 07/27/2018 3:59:09 PM PDT by LibWhacker
The space agency has always coughed up the extra cash, but some politicians wonder if the contractor responsible for major errors should pitch in.
If everything had gone according to plan, the most powerful space telescope would be in orbit right now, perched about 1 million miles from Earth, peering deep into the universe, and returning home mesmerizing photos of glittering stars and galaxies.
Instead, its still in a factory in California, waiting to receive more money so engineers can finish building it.
The James Webb Space Telescope, NASAs next big astronomy mission, has been in the works for two decades. When the concept was first proposed in 1996 as the successor to the famed Hubble Space Telescope, scientists estimated it would cost $500 million and fly by 2007. But as scientists worked on the telescopes design, the world around them began to change. Astronomers were making exhilarating discoveries about the cosmos, and engineers were inventing the technology needed to study them. Webbs stewards believed the telescope could do more than originally envisioned, so they expanded its parameters.
As the years passed and the scope of the mission swelled, so did the cost. By the start of this year, Webb had a price tag of $8.8 billion and a launch date of spring 2019. Most of the telescopeits gold-plated mirrors and scientific instrumentshad been completed and tested. But there was trouble with the tennis-court-sized shield thats supposed to protect it from the heat of the sun, and with the spacecraft that will house the observatorys various systems. It was enough trouble that last month, NASA officials made a disappointing announcement: Webb would be delayed, again, this time to spring 2021. And its would be even more expensive.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
The Sunk Cost Fallacy
From an original cost estimate of $500 Million, now over 8.8
BILLION!! Mr. President, this telescope project is clearly out of control, and just keeping people employed. Please end it asap! Put a collar and a short tight leash around this barking dog. The original idea is outmoded anyway.
Technology is changing every few months now.
From an original cost estimate of $500 Million, now over 8.8 Billion.
They must think it’s the VA hospital in Denver
The risk should be managed through insurance policies.
If no one is willing to insure against cost overruns at any reasonable price, then the project should not be done.
NASA should be asking the Muzzies for technical and financial help.
In return for the NASA “investments” in Islam.
We don’t need no steenking contract
Shut it down until the Nation’s annual budget is balanced and/or has an 8.8 billion dollar surplus...
I would guess that this project got cancelled after the Global Warming Nazis in NASA got wind of it.
We cant have any new scientific evidence that refutes CO2 driven global warming.
They will blame Trump if at all possible.
Too bad. Astrophysics is so interesting.
If you bid on building something for a particular cost, you should HAVE to deliver it. And once a contract is signed it should *literally* require an act of Congress to make ANY changes.
Make a plan, stick to it. Contracts should be sacred- both in payment and performance- no deviations, no changes, under harshest penalty of law.
Remember when the famed Hubble Space Telescope was launched without proper testing and it was found the lens were not aligned right? A shuttle flight was needed to give it corrective lens and mirrors.
The government changes the scope on most contracts constantly.
I’m hoping that what really happened is that they spent 8.6 billion on space weapons.
Northrop Grumman. NASA, Fed Gov....
“Remember when the famed Hubble Space Telescope was launched without proper testing and it was found the lens were not aligned right? A shuttle flight was needed to give it corrective lens and mirrors.”
Oddly the Hubble had been a scientific bonanza once it was given “corrective lens.” The real hell of it is the taxpayer picked up the price for a contractors error. They ground the mirror to the wrong specs! The contractor should have been bankrupted for the error.
I can tell you have never built off a government design. I have.
You get a design that was held up for two years of government infighting. The technical standards and products made have all subtly changed. The As-built plans furnished by the government were done by people now dead and incorrectly show the size, flow direction and location of utilities. For the technical projects the changes needed to build it useable can cost 10% to 40% of the whole project.
As a contractor I found that demolition of a high pressure fire main serving three other buildings as directed to build my building was often not desired. Instead the added rerouted line and by-pass valves to keep water service in place was preferred but took more time and money. The examples from just project I ran can fill a book.
I once waited three months for the government, their facilities people, the Air Force, and the Corps of Engineers to decide on the chacteristices and exact type of an underground three block long electrical feed they forgot to include in a complex design. We agreed to the 340,000 it woul cost we worked through the night and weekend to install it and spent agony testing and get it going and 36 hours after we were done they requested we tear it all out and redo it in different manner.
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