James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed, again!

Officials say they need more time to assemble and test the James Webb Space Telescope, which is now set to fly in 2020

Webb's previously revised 2019 launch window is now targeted for approximately May 2020.

"Webb is the highest priority project for the agency's Science Mission Directorate, and the largest global space science project in USA history." said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot.

Currently, the telescope's flight systems are complete, and its instruments are undergoing additional testing, while it waits to be fully pieced together with the spacecraft that will position it in orbit.

Next stage Late past year, NASA said that the JWST's telescope and scientific instrument payload had passed cryogenic tests at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, after which the equipment was delivered to the Redondo Beach site for spacecraft integration.

NASA is establishing an external Independent Review Board (IRB), chaired by Thomas Young, a highly respected NASA and industry veteran who is often called on to chair advisory committees and analyze organizational and technical issues. Based on this information, and findings from previous boards, NASA will present an assessment of the project, including a more specific launch date, to Congress this summer.

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"NASA has determined that the Webb launch date launch date has been delayed from its baseline by more than six months", said Lightfoot.

James Webb Space Telescope was proposed more than two decades ago and the estimated cost of the project was quoted at $1 billion Dollars that was sanctioned by the Congress.

"Additional steps to address project challenges include increasing NASA engineering oversight, personnel changes, and new management reporting structures", NASA added.

Designed by Northrop Grumman, the spacecraft's five-layered sunshield, which acts like a giant parasol, is the size of a tennis court.

Unlike Hubble, which was serviced regularly by space shuttle astronauts, Webb will orbit the sun at a point about 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth - unreachable in case of a breakdown. "Webb is a really complex machine and rigorous testing is required to have a high confidence of success", Zurbuchen said.

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"Considering the investment NASA and our worldwide partners have made, we want to proceed systematically through these last tests, with the additional time necessary, to be ready for a May 2020 launch", says Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

The James Webb Space Telescope is a huge undertaking for the space agency, which says it is the largest global space science project the USA has ever developed.

As for what's next, the Webb will undergo environmental testing, and will be subjected to vibrational, acoustic and thermal environments to simulate its launch and actual operations. "These tests will take a few months to complete", NASA now reports.

Overall integration and testing of the telescope has also taken far longer than expected, even for those components not suffering technical issues. If it surpasses its current $8.8 billion budget, the project will have to be re-approved by the US Congress, says Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. ESA is providing the Ariane 5 as part of its scientific collaboration with NASA.

James Webb Space Telescope is created to peer even further back into time than the Hubble, probing the earliest dawn of the universe, the formation of stars and phenomena too distant to explore with current technology. It will build on the discoveries of previous space science missions such as the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, tackling the mysteries of our Solar System, studying distant worlds around stars beyond our Sun, and looking back at the origins of our Universe.

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