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Review Board Concerned About JWST’s Ability To Gear For Launch In 2 Years

NASA is due to perform an estimate of the schedule and cost for the JWST (Space Telescope-James Webb). Tom Young, Independent review board Chairman, mentioned that he has doubts regarding the capability of the project to stay in line the next two years for the launch. According to Tom Young, the mission is taking more time for launch due to the revision in its schedule in June last year. NASA had reconstituted the board to evaluate how NASA has executed its recommendations.

Greg Robinson, who is the program director of JWST at NASA denied any kind of delay in schedules. He said that the progress of the mission was satisfactory. He mentioned that the margin would be 60 days for testing and integration of the optical elements and spacecraft bus combined, three weeks following the entry of the observatory at the site of launch and a reserve of four months for being held at the headquarters of NASA. He admitted the fact that two months of reserve schedule for testing and integration of the spacecraft was exceeded at the facility of Northrop Grumman. The margin was actually consumed by vibration testing.

The Accountability Office of US government also released a report on JWST, and it stated that since November, 2018, the mission was running a late by one week the planned schedule due to some repair of the assembly of the membrane cover. The GAO had prescribed a thorough examination of the schedule and cost of the mission which is known as JCL to be done before the review of the system integration that would take place in August. Earlier, NASA had refused for JCL because it was easy to estimate the costs of the mission at this stage of development on the basis of the days that are remaining.

Tom Young gave 32 recommendations to NASA. He appreciated that NASA has been doing an excellent job by applying almost 29 recommendations and more efforts are still needed as NASA’s has not been responding properly to the remaining three recommendations. Two recommendations stated that the Goddard Flight Center Director, take up all the important responsibilities of the mission for its success in terms of schedule and cost. The third recommendation wanted the program of NASA’s launch services for the JWST, should be offered by ESA.