Author Topic: How much political support does JWST have?  (Read 9678 times)

Offline KEdward5

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How much political support does JWST have?
« on: 02/23/2012 09:00 PM »
I'm not in favor of cancelling it, but I would prefer this often delayed project is put back maybe a few more years in order to allow for fully funding Commercial Crew and SLS/Orion.

Which have the largest political support?

I ask as I can't understand why the battleground is usually SLS/Orion vs Commercial Crew. 

Offline David AF

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #1 on: 02/23/2012 10:23 PM »
It's a fair comment, especially when we're talking about priorities, but Bolden showed what the White House think by calling this failure of a project a flagship, something he did not say for SLS, Orion or Commercial Crew, with the other being MSL.
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Offline Proponent

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #2 on: 03/08/2012 03:10 AM »
Last fall there was a joint press conference involving Sens. Nelson, Hutchison and, IIRC, Mikulski (if it jogs any memories, that was the one were Nelson referred to Hutchison as the "queen of SLS" or something like that, and it wasn't obvious that Hutchison appreciated the comment).  A deal to proceed with SLS was announced, as was a deal to proceed with JWST (this was not long after the House had proposed ending JWST).  The fact that the two were announced simultaneously makes me think that they are linked:  SLS's backers agreed to support JWST and vice versa.  If so, that would explain why Sen. Hutchison goes after commercial crew and not after JWST.

Offline Prober

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #3 on: 03/08/2012 06:30 PM »
How much political support does JWST have?

Not as much as last year.

I will leave this up to 51D etc to handle.  But it's very possible that the presidents FY13 budget is setup to get the house to cancel out the JWST then the Senate.

The President then looks good and can say "Congress" killed it not me!

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Offline yg1968

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #4 on: 03/08/2012 07:19 PM »
Although not stated directly, it's fairly obvious that JWST was paid by reducing NASA's involvement in Exomars. So cancelling JWST does not help commercial crew. NASA is not just about human exploration. Although I am not rooting for it, I suspect that a more likely target for cuts is Earth Science and technology development.

« Last Edit: 03/08/2012 07:19 PM by yg1968 »

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #5 on: 03/10/2012 03:40 AM »
JWST has the support of influential Senators Mikulski and Hutchison.  These two very powerful women have a lot of say so in the NASA budget.

They are the Chairwoman and Ranking member of appropriations in the senate... and they work well together.

It will be interesting to see what happens when JWST costs climb again.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=26522.0

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Offline Gary NASA

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #6 on: 04/18/2012 03:06 PM »
"How much political support does JWST have?"

Too much. Failure of a project, and being on track now, for its delayed schedule, does not change that fact.

Offline smith5se

Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #7 on: 04/18/2012 07:04 PM »
You mean 'The Blood Sucking Vampire' of NASA? It has much more support politically than it has here... and that's saying something.
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Offline spacetraveler

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #8 on: 04/19/2012 01:36 AM »
The costs are high, but the benefits could be just as high when it is done. Remember Hubble had cost overruns too and faced threats of cancellation.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #9 on: 04/19/2012 01:56 AM »
I'm not in favor of cancelling it, but I would prefer this often delayed project is put back maybe a few more years in order to allow for fully funding Commercial Crew and SLS/Orion.

The biggest reason it's over budget is that it's taking so long.  Putting it back makes it more expensive, not less.

I'm in favor of finishing the job and getting to the science.  The value of finding out more about the universe is difficult to measure, but in my opinion it's just about the most valuable thing we do as a species.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #10 on: 04/19/2012 03:18 AM »
Rewarding failure worked for Hubble, why not JWST too? Right?
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Online Chris Bergin

Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #11 on: 04/19/2012 03:49 AM »
Would pushing it back say a year help the near term funding priorities? Or does that even work (because I guess you still have to pay all the workers etc.)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #12 on: 04/19/2012 04:08 AM »
Would pushing it back say a year help the near term funding priorities? Or does that even work (because I guess you still have to pay all the workers etc.)
Just give NASA a damn billion or so extra for this year (to help with the immediate needs of ISS), tell them to scale back on any extra expensive features of JWST, and launch it as early as they can and let this saga end. Pushing it back a year would just increase costs.

The best thing Congress could do without costing any extra is to just PASS A BUDGET ON TIME THIS YEAR! ;)
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Offline spectre9

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #13 on: 04/19/2012 05:01 AM »
I don't support JWST.

It's too expensive and irresponsible and I don't see how it can be a big priority.

The astronomers got Hubble. They should be fairly happy.

I know I'm not an American taxpayer but this takes away from less risky things that are much more vital for the USA to have right now.

No gap on large space telescopes but can't put a man in orbit?

To me that's not a good image.

One gap is more important to close than the other.

Offline Proponent

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #14 on: 04/19/2012 05:49 AM »
I'm not in favor of cancelling it, but I would prefer this often delayed project is put back maybe a few more years in order to allow for fully funding Commercial Crew and SLS/Orion.

Which have the largest political support?

I ask as I can't understand why the battleground is usually SLS/Orion vs Commercial Crew. 

In September 2011, there was a press conference in which Sens. Hutchison and Nelson announced the selection of the "final" SLS design (here's the press release).  At the same press conference, the continuation of JWST was also announced.  Sen. Mikulski of Maryland, a big JWST supporter, was mentioned, though I don't remember whether she actually appeared.  Anyway, I took this as pretty clear sign that a deal had been worked out, whereby SLS and JWST supporters would support each other.  I suspect that's why some SLS backers attack commercial crew so vehemently.

EDIT:  "bit supporter" -> "big supporter"; removed duplicative "backers of" before final reference to SLS.
« Last Edit: 03/02/2015 04:43 PM by Proponent »

Offline spacetraveler

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #15 on: 04/19/2012 05:53 PM »
I don't support JWST.

It's too expensive and irresponsible and I don't see how it can be a big priority.

The astronomers got Hubble. They should be fairly happy.

I know I'm not an American taxpayer but this takes away from less risky things that are much more vital for the USA to have right now.

No gap on large space telescopes but can't put a man in orbit?

To me that's not a good image.

One gap is more important to close than the other.

Well there is going to be a gap in large space telescopes, that was one of the purposes of JWST, to take over after Hubble. Hubble is only going to be usable until around 2014 or possibly a little longer. So even with the current launch date of 2018 there will be a 3-4 year gap. If It's cancelled, there will be an indefinite gap.
« Last Edit: 04/19/2012 05:54 PM by spacetraveler »

Offline MP99

Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #16 on: 04/19/2012 07:10 PM »
Once JWST is in place, what's it's expected lifetime?

cheers, Martin

Offline spacetraveler

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #17 on: 04/20/2012 04:34 AM »
Once JWST is in place, what's it's expected lifetime?

cheers, Martin

Most estimates I've seen range from 5-10 years. It will not be as long as Hubble since it will be placed at ESL2 which is too far for servicing missions.

Offline spectre9

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #18 on: 04/20/2012 05:58 AM »
Should be serviceable.

Crazy not to bother with such things considering it's supposedly part of NASAs flexible exploration roadmap.

Offline spacetraveler

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #19 on: 04/20/2012 06:18 AM »
Should be serviceable.

No, it will not be serviceable. It will be over 1 million miles from earth. No servicing capability exists for that distance. That is one of the reasons the development is taking so long. The integration and test plan is taking years because of the need to make sure there are no issues. It's possible that some new long range robotic servicing technology could potentially be developed years later, but the mission planning is proceeding under the assumption that there will be no service capability.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2012 06:22 AM by spacetraveler »

Offline Mark S

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #20 on: 04/20/2012 03:54 PM »
An Orion could get there if needed, using iCPS or possibly Block-2 CPS. Seems like this would fit in perfectly with Orion's primary role as NASA's manned deep space spacecraft.

Mark S.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #21 on: 04/20/2012 04:20 PM »
It is absolutely, totally, completely, 110% NOT SERVICEABLE.

For starters, that big solar shade cannot be retracted. Hit that with the RCS thrusters and it folds up around the spacecraft like a plastic bag and you might as well turn around and go home.

In addition, the mirror is cold. Orion will outgas. Orion will put out RCS gas. That will condense on the mirror and ruin it.

There is no attachment point for a spacecraft.

The components are not designed to be removed for replacement.

The spacecraft has sharp edges.

I could go on and on.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2012 04:20 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #22 on: 04/20/2012 04:27 PM »
ESL-2 is very, very close (delta-v-wise) to EML1/2. James Webb probably has enough on-board propellant to bring itself to EML1/2 by itself (especially using a low energy transfer a.k.a. a weak stability boundary trajectory), and there's supposed to be a docking port so that another (unmanned) spacecraft could do it, as well.

Still, that doesn't mean a servicing mission would make any sense (see Blackstar's extensive post above mine).

So, has the NDS/iLIDS docking port been deleted?
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Offline Mark S

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #23 on: 04/20/2012 05:09 PM »
It is absolutely, totally, completely, 110% NOT SERVICEABLE.
....
I could go on and on.

Well then, just be prepared for the backlash when JWST becomes a $9 billion piece of space junk because someone overtightened a wingnut or something.

It's not smart for it to be absolutely, totally, completely, 110% NOT SERVICEABLE.

Mark S.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #24 on: 04/20/2012 09:53 PM »
1-Well then, just be prepared for the backlash when JWST becomes a $9 billion piece of space junk because someone overtightened a wingnut or something.

2-It's not smart for it to be absolutely, totally, completely, 110% NOT SERVICEABLE.

1-Why should I be prepared for backlash? I didn't build it.

2-Tell us what it would cost if it was designed to be serviceable.

Offline spectre9

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #25 on: 04/20/2012 10:31 PM »
I read stuff like this and find it hard to disagree.

A servicing mission costs less than a new telescope. Maybe?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #26 on: 04/20/2012 10:35 PM »
I read stuff like this and find it hard to disagree.

A servicing mission costs less than a new telescope. Maybe?
If you have a REALLY expensive, big telescope and a really pared-down commercial-type repair mission, maybe. But it'd probably have to be a different telescope than JWST (bigger, not as fragile) and it'd probably have to be in a world where non-NASA commercial crew orbital missions happen several times a year. Not impossible.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Mark S

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #27 on: 04/20/2012 11:08 PM »
I read stuff like this and find it hard to disagree.

A servicing mission costs less than a new telescope. Maybe?

Thanks for that document, spectre, it's very informative and actually relevant. :)

Offline Mark S

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #28 on: 04/20/2012 11:23 PM »
1-Well then, just be prepared for the backlash when JWST becomes a $9 billion piece of space junk because someone overtightened a wingnut or something.

2-It's not smart for it to be absolutely, totally, completely, 110% NOT SERVICEABLE.

1-Why should I be prepared for backlash? I didn't build it.

2-Tell us what it would cost if it was designed to be serviceable.

1-Sorry if I worded that poorly. I didn't mean that you personally are risking backlash, unless of course you're the decision maker on JWST design. NASA should be prepared for potential backlash for making JWST unserviceable.

2-Would it cost less to design in some minimal level of serviceability than to build an entire new telescope in case of failure of any kind? Is it worth risking the entire mission by making it anti-serviceable?

NASA got a pass on HST because they fixed it and it worked perfectly afterwards. Do you think Congress would have paid for a second HST if the first had been unserviceable and unfixable? I don't think so. I think they would have been laughed out of the room.

Has that scenario been ran past the appropriate committees? "If JWST fails, there is no way for us to fix it. So this is just a heads-up so you can be ready for us to come back and ask for another $9 billion in that case. And oh by the way, even if everything works perfectly, JWST will only work for 5 or 10 years tops. Later dudes!"

That doesn't really sound like responsible planning to me, but what do I know, I'm just a taxpayer.

Mark S.

Offline spectre9

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #29 on: 04/20/2012 11:26 PM »
The possibility of commercial crew servicing is interesting.

Dragon on Falcon Heavy? Instruments and robot arms in the trunk?

Could be quite a bit cheaper than SLS/Orion.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #30 on: 04/21/2012 05:44 PM »
The possibility of commercial crew servicing is interesting.

Dragon on Falcon Heavy? Instruments and robot arms in the trunk?

Could be quite a bit cheaper than SLS/Orion.

Dragon and F9H seem to be the magic fairy dust for the space program--just sprinkle it on any problem and it is instantly solved.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #31 on: 04/21/2012 05:47 PM »
1-Sorry if I worded that poorly. I didn't mean that you personally are risking backlash, unless of course you're the decision maker on JWST design. NASA should be prepared for potential backlash for making JWST unserviceable.

Why? Don't you think they had their reasons? You might speculate about what those reasons were.

"Serviceability" is not automatically a good thing.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #32 on: 04/21/2012 05:52 PM »
2-Would it cost less to design in some minimal level of serviceability than to build an entire new telescope in case of failure of any kind? Is it worth risking the entire mission by making it anti-serviceable?

NASA got a pass on HST because they fixed it and it worked perfectly afterwards. Do you think Congress would have paid for a second HST if the first had been unserviceable and unfixable? I don't think so. I think they would have been laughed out of the room.

Has that scenario been ran past the appropriate committees? "If JWST fails, there is no way for us to fix it. So this is just a heads-up so you can be ready for us to come back and ask for another $9 billion in that case. And oh by the way, even if everything works perfectly, JWST will only work for 5 or 10 years tops. Later dudes!"

First, the most likely failure mode is probably a launch failure. Serviceability doesn't help you there.

Second, you can guard against having to service (to fix things) by doing better testing on the ground.

There are a lot of tradeoffs when it comes to serviceability. It costs money. And the designers (who aren't stupid people, by the way) have to balance the costs, the benefits, and what they could buy with that money.

There are several reasons to design serviceability into an observatory:

1-to fix problems
2-to extend the lifetime
3-to to replace instruments

Now 2 and 3 are synonymous, because the instruments are the things that are most likely going die first (that's the case for Hubble). And that takes you down another path. Can the instruments really benefit from being updated, or are you sort of stuck with replacing an existing instrument with a better version of the same thing?

If you look at the history of Hubble servicing, they were able to expand the instrument suite. They didn't just improve the instruments, they could do more things with the telescope. I think that's the case with optical/UV telescopes more than far infrared telescopes like JWST.

(more in another post)
« Last Edit: 04/21/2012 05:58 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #33 on: 04/21/2012 06:00 PM »
Now here's a tough question: does it make sense to design serviceability into a telescope that costs $8 billion, when it does not make sense to design serviceability into a telescope that costs $4 billion?

The answer may very well be yes, but the problem is that this is not possible for JWST--if it was ever going to be serviceable, it had to be designed for that from the very beginning. That train has left the station.

Offline spacetraveler

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #34 on: 04/21/2012 08:56 PM »
Second, you can guard against having to service (to fix things) by doing better testing on the ground.

Indeed, after the Hubble issue they found that the problem could have easily been detected on the ground and the mirror switched to the correctly ground backup one if the testing plan had been more robust. The JWST planners have learned from that and have a very robust test and integration plan for this telescope.

Offline Mark S

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #35 on: 04/21/2012 10:23 PM »
Okay guys, I was wrong. The JWST designers are obviously very smart, otherwise they wouldn't have been the ones chosen to build such an advanced piece of hardware.

Forgive me for entertaining any doubts about JWST and the decisions behind it. Clearly things have gone swimmingly from the start, so there is no reason to concerned about anything.

Mark S.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #36 on: 04/21/2012 11:38 PM »
Okay guys, I was wrong. The JWST designers are obviously very smart, otherwise they wouldn't have been the ones chosen to build such an advanced piece of hardware.

Forgive me for entertaining any doubts about JWST and the decisions behind it. Clearly things have gone swimmingly from the start, so there is no reason to concerned about anything.

Mark S.

Can we see the specs for the telescope you would have designed instead?

Offline QuantumG

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #37 on: 04/22/2012 01:40 AM »
JWST has a design? I just figured they came up with that monstrosity by hacking one solution after another onto what came before... it's the most generous assumption.

I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline spacetraveler

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Re: How much political support does JWST have?
« Reply #38 on: 04/22/2012 07:37 PM »
Obviously I don't think anyone is going to claim that there haven't been problems (specifically with budget and timelines). But that does not automatically lead to a conclusion that the project is going to fail just because the telescope is not serviceable. One of the big cost drivers is the amount of testing and verification that is necessary, increasing the amount of testing on the ground drives up the cost however that will lead to a greater chance of mission success.

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