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How the Webb Space Telescope Got So Expensive

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    Last Updated: September 10, 2011


    First time accepted submitter IICV writes “Ethan Siegel of Starts with a Bang has done some research on how and why the James Webb Space Telescope’s price tag ballooned. Quoting: ‘Something wasn’t adding up. How could the telescope be more than three-quarters complete after $3.5 billion, but require more than double that amount to finish it? Also, how did the launch date get bumped by three years, to 2018? And how did 6.5 billion become a disastrous $8.7 billion so quickly? So I did a little digging around, and perhaps a little investigative reporting as well, and got ahold of a Webb Project Scientist who’s also a member of the Webb Science Working Group.'” Whether or not you buy the argument that the money’s well-spent (at $5 billion or $8 billion, or either side of these), even the work in progress is beautiful.

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