Author Topic: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion  (Read 130842 times)

Offline DarkenedOne

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #280 on: 01/11/2013 11:09 pm »
Unserviceability is a big concern.

The big lesson from Hubble is that things go wrong and human hands are the best way to fix things.

At least I thought so  ???

Are the Hubble servicing missions held up unfairly as shining jewels of the shuttle program?

wrong.  The lesson from HST was to do proper ground testing.  Shuttle servicing compromised the original design.

That sounds reasonable when we are talking about old technologies and systems in which we have demonstrated that we can build reliably.

That notion is completely unreasonable when we are talking about new technologies, concepts, and systems.  Even with all the "proper testing" success is far from certain.  The reason is that you simply do not know what tests need to be performed.

Take the Space Shuttle for instance.  It was also a first of its kind.  The engineers their best, but they were in uncharted territory.  For instance, they never anticipated that foam from the external fuel tank would punch a hole in the heat shield that would cause the shuttle to disintegrate on reentry. 

The Hubble Space Telescope like the Space Shuttle was a first of its kind.  Its designers could not of possibly anticipated all of the issues that would arise.   



Offline Lar

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #281 on: 01/12/2013 06:30 am »
There's not any realistic way to kill it, is there?

There's no other way to get the needed data.

Look, it's like this.

If you want to see far back in time you need to look very far away.

Very far away means a lot of dust between you and your target.  Dust absorbs visual wavelengths better than IR.  Very far away also means a big red-shift which also points to IR.

If you want to see very far away stuff with good detail, you need very good resolution.  Now here's the catch - resolution goes down with longer wavelengths and up with aperture.  Further, if you want to see in deep IR, you need your instrument to be very cold, and you need it to be outside of Earth's atmosphere.

So, to see deep into the past, you need to see in IR, and to see that band in detail, the long wavelengths dictate a big scope.  There's no way to make this problem divisible into lots of littler projects because of that issue.  Further, your big scope has to be cold, which dictates getting it far from Earth and into the shade combined with cryogenic cooling.  This means a limited life.

There's just no way around it.  To get this data, you need a big, cold, complex scope far from Earth, in the shade and actively cooled, and missions like that are very expensive.

So you've got your choice - pay the bill or don't get the data.  The surveys have shown this data to be of a very high priority.

I'm not arguing against getting this data. I just am getting the sense that the JWST is not a good use of limited resources, at this time. The money spent on it is a significant fraction of the total science budget. And it seems to have not been spent in the most efficient manner (for a variety of reasons)

Seems to me that building, and tending, a big, shaded, far distant scope would be easier if we had a lot of existing ISRU and space based manufacturing infrastructure already in place. Or at least a tug. Why not spend the 8 B on that first?
« Last Edit: 01/12/2013 06:34 am by Lar »
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #282 on: 01/12/2013 02:41 pm »
There's not any realistic way to kill it, is there?

There's no other way to get the needed data.

{snip}

So you've got your choice - pay the bill or don't get the data.  The surveys have shown this data to be of a very high priority.

The surveys are opinion, and not fact.  I personally believe that the data are important, but not at all costs.  With each passing billion dollars and each passing year for JWST, the following observation becomes more and more pertinant:

"According to interviewees, this [bloated costs and late schedules] can result from deliberately understated contractor proposals, Agency estimates scrubbed to fit a perceived "approvable" budget profile, efforts of commercial lobbyists, and pressure from Congress."

As an aside, one question not even asked in the surveys would have been:  "How would this data make our economy stronger, and help people live better lives?"  There is little current pragmatic utility in JWST. 

The scientific return on investment for JWST should be subject to a much more rigorous analysis than it has been to date, since the rate of return appears to be shrinking in value.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2013 02:42 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online Lee Jay

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #283 on: 01/12/2013 06:17 pm »
As an aside, one question not even asked in the surveys would have been:  "How would this data make our economy stronger, and help people live better lives?"  There is little current pragmatic utility in JWST. 

The scientific return on investment for JWST should be subject to a much more rigorous analysis than it has been to date, since the rate of return appears to be shrinking in value.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2010-01-05/
« Last Edit: 01/12/2013 06:17 pm by Lee Jay »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #284 on: 01/12/2013 10:15 pm »
thanx for the laff, Lee Jay.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #285 on: 01/13/2013 11:44 am »
Unserviceability is a big concern.

The big lesson from Hubble is that things go wrong and human hands are the best way to fix things.

At least I thought so  ???

Are the Hubble servicing missions held up unfairly as shining jewels of the shuttle program?

wrong.  The lesson from HST was to do proper ground testing.  Shuttle servicing compromised the original design.

from the Orbit the HST needed?
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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #286 on: 01/13/2013 11:52 am »
And the beat goes on... de dee dump de dee dump

James Webb Space Telescope squeezing budget, NASA official says

Astronomers may have to brace for a much humbler astrophysics mission following the planned launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, a NASA official told a ballroom full of astronomers Tuesday.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-aas-nasa-james-webb-space-telescope-astrophysics-budget-20130108,0,4527004.story?track=rss

No frigging... crap.  When you have a budget overrun of 550 percent and delay by 9-12 years and you should expect to get spanked.  SMD is slitting its own neck with JWST.  It isn't even serviceable and has a mission expectancy of six years.

VR
RE327

can someone give a simple answer on this?

The understanding with Congress was that the program costs would be under control now or basicly pulled.   So is the JWST staying on budget?
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Offline CitabriaFlyer

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #287 on: 01/13/2013 03:06 pm »
Why is this thing launching on an Ariane?  Why not launch it on Atlas V?

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #288 on: 01/13/2013 04:17 pm »
Why is this thing launching on an Ariane?  Why not launch it on Atlas V?

ESA is providing the LV for free.

Offline muomega0

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #289 on: 01/13/2013 06:16 pm »
And the beat goes on... de dee dump de dee dump

James Webb Space Telescope squeezing budget, NASA official says

Astronomers may have to brace for a much humbler astrophysics mission following the planned launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, a NASA official told a ballroom full of astronomers Tuesday.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-aas-nasa-james-webb-space-telescope-astrophysics-budget-20130108,0,4527004.story?track=rss

No frigging... crap.  When you have a budget overrun of 550 percent and delay by 9-12 years and you should expect to get spanked.  SMD is slitting its own neck with JWST.  It isn't even serviceable and has a mission expectancy of six years.

VR
RE327

can someone give a simple answer on this?

The understanding with Congress was that the program costs would be under control now or basicly pulled.   So is the JWST staying on budget?


Yes.

The JWST budget a year ago, with operations was ~8B vs Hubble at 12B--1B was due to a funding cut by the departing 2008 Congress.  Note that the numbers extracted here were from graphs.

The LA Times stays that

"The talk comes as James Webb’s $8.8-billion price tag – up by $3.1 billion – has squeezed the astrophysics division’s budget, taking up more than expected by the priority-setting 2010 decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics."

So this is just reporting what was known long ago:  if a program is stretched a few years, then everyone who planned on starting a new one has to wait.

“It’s not that our budget has gone down, it’s that we’re spending more on James Webb than we had planned on at the time the decadal survey was done,” Hertz said.

How does Webb compare to HSF vechicle and capsule development BTW?

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #290 on: 01/13/2013 06:47 pm »
And the beat goes on... de dee dump de dee dump

James Webb Space Telescope squeezing budget, NASA official says

Astronomers may have to brace for a much humbler astrophysics mission following the planned launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, a NASA official told a ballroom full of astronomers Tuesday.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-aas-nasa-james-webb-space-telescope-astrophysics-budget-20130108,0,4527004.story?track=rss

No frigging... crap.  When you have a budget overrun of 550 percent and delay by 9-12 years and you should expect to get spanked.  SMD is slitting its own neck with JWST.  It isn't even serviceable and has a mission expectancy of six years.

VR
RE327

can someone give a simple answer on this?

The understanding with Congress was that the program costs would be under control now or basicly pulled.   So is the JWST staying on budget?


Yes.

The JWST budget a year ago, with operations was ~8B vs Hubble at 12B--1B was due to a funding cut by the departing 2008 Congress.  Note that the numbers extracted here were from graphs.

The LA Times stays that

"The talk comes as James Webb’s $8.8-billion price tag – up by $3.1 billion – has squeezed the astrophysics division’s budget, taking up more than expected by the priority-setting 2010 decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics."

So this is just reporting what was known long ago:  if a program is stretched a few years, then everyone who planned on starting a new one has to wait.

“It’s not that our budget has gone down, it’s that we’re spending more on James Webb than we had planned on at the time the decadal survey was done,” Hertz said.

How does Webb compare to HSF vechicle and capsule development BTW?

I am quoting this for historical purposes...  Some people have no idea WTH is going on inside Webb.

You know, when it inevitably hits $9.5 billion.  Until then, I'll take the spears.
You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

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Offline scienceguy

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #291 on: 01/13/2013 11:08 pm »
Would it be possible to get a picture of that planet around Alpha Centauri B with the JWST?
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Online Blackstar

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #292 on: 01/13/2013 11:52 pm »
Why is this thing launching on an Ariane?  Why not launch it on Atlas V?

Oh, there's a great story behind that. Someday somebody will write a book about JWST's development and that will be a few pages.

The story that I heard several years ago went like this: ESA wanted in on JWST. It is easier to trade services than to write a check (same for the ISS), so ESA offered to contribute the launch vehicle, among other things. This was expected to save about $200 million, after all is said and done. NASA said "Great! We accept!" Then Boeing stepped in and said "Not so fast! Why should NASA accept a launch vehicle for free when we will gladly SELL them a launch vehicle?!" And then everything got put on hold for a year or more while the politicians (above NASA) figured out what they wanted to do. From what I heard, that one-year delay in figuring out the launch vehicle probably cost $200 million. (Because they could not do all the designs without knowing the launch vehicle parameters, etc.)

I've probably got the numbers wrong, but they're ballpark. Bottom line is that the "free launch vehicle" probably isn't really free and the delays arguing over it ate up the money, all because an American company objected.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2013 11:54 pm by Blackstar »

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #293 on: 01/14/2013 12:45 am »
Why is this thing launching on an Ariane?  Why not launch it on Atlas V?

Oh, there's a great story behind that. Someday somebody will write a book about JWST's development and that will be a few pages.

The story that I heard several years ago went like this: ESA wanted in on JWST. It is easier to trade services than to write a check (same for the ISS), so ESA offered to contribute the launch vehicle, among other things. This was expected to save about $200 million, after all is said and done. NASA said "Great! We accept!" Then Boeing stepped in and said "Not so fast! Why should NASA accept a launch vehicle for free when we will gladly SELL them a launch vehicle?!" And then everything got put on hold for a year or more while the politicians (above NASA) figured out what they wanted to do. From what I heard, that one-year delay in figuring out the launch vehicle probably cost $200 million. (Because they could not do all the designs without knowing the launch vehicle parameters, etc.)

I've probably got the numbers wrong, but they're ballpark. Bottom line is that the "free launch vehicle" probably isn't really free and the delays arguing over it ate up the money, all because an American company objected.

This is the same scenario I was told.  I trust the source I have and now it gets confirmed here... priceless.

Thank you for sharing this.

VR
RE327
You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #294 on: 01/14/2013 01:12 am »
This is the same scenario I was told.  I trust the source I have and now it gets confirmed here... priceless.

Well, I got it third-hand, from somebody who attended an astronomy advisory committee meeting who I think heard it directly from a NASA official.

However, the basics of that story should be verifiable. I am sure that if you dug through Space News (hard to find issues past a few years ago, they're not online) or Aviation Week (easier) from around 2005 or so you could find at least one article that refers to the delay and the Boeing protest over the launch vehicle. You probably would have a difficult time finding information supporting the claim that the delay in selecting a launch vehicle cost as much as the "free" vehicle itself, but I strongly suspect that it is true.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #295 on: 01/14/2013 02:07 am »
 At this price the reliability of the launch vehicle should have been the only factor.
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Offline baldusi

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #296 on: 01/14/2013 03:34 am »
At this price the reliability of the launch vehicle should have been the only factor.
And which vehicle is more reliable than Ariane 5 with that performance?

Offline robertross

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #297 on: 01/14/2013 12:29 pm »
At this price the reliability of the launch vehicle should have been the only factor.
And which vehicle is more reliable than Ariane 5 with that performance?

The 'better' statement should be 'was', not is
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Offline muomega0

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #298 on: 01/14/2013 01:07 pm »
And the beat goes on... de dee dump de dee dump

James Webb Space Telescope squeezing budget, NASA official says

Astronomers may have to brace for a much humbler astrophysics mission following the planned launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, a NASA official told a ballroom full of astronomers Tuesday.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-aas-nasa-james-webb-space-telescope-astrophysics-budget-20130108,0,4527004.story?track=rss

No frigging... crap.  When you have a budget overrun of 550 percent and delay by 9-12 years and you should expect to get spanked.  SMD is slitting its own neck with JWST.  It isn't even serviceable and has a mission expectancy of six years.

VR
RE327

can someone give a simple answer on this?

The understanding with Congress was that the program costs would be under control now or basicly pulled.   So is the JWST staying on budget?


Yes.

The JWST budget a year ago, with operations was ~8B vs Hubble at 12B--1B was due to a funding cut by the departing 2008 Congress.  Note that the numbers extracted here were from graphs.

The LA Times stays that

"The talk comes as James Webb’s $8.8-billion price tag – up by $3.1 billion – has squeezed the astrophysics division’s budget, taking up more than expected by the priority-setting 2010 decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics."

So this is just reporting what was known long ago:  if a program is stretched a few years, then everyone who planned on starting a new one has to wait.

“It’s not that our budget has gone down, it’s that we’re spending more on James Webb than we had planned on at the time the decadal survey was done,” Hertz said.

How does Webb compare to HSF vechicle and capsule development BTW?

I am quoting this for historical purposes...  Some people have no idea WTH is going on inside Webb.

You know, when it inevitably hits $9.5 billion.  Until then, I'll take the spears.

But the 550% is not correct, comparing apples to oranges..

As pointed out, the   
2008 Budget Plan :   '02 to 08:  1.9B
                               '09 to 14   1.9B  or  3.8B Total
These costs do not include operations, nor do they provide reserves.

The 2000 plan was 2B, same that was estimated in '02 to be finished by 2009, but no ops costs.     See wiki page on JWST for year by year estimates.

So 8.8B (-3B ops) is 5.5B, not quite 550%.  That is the problem with stating percentages, why did you not include the operational costs into the 895M or the 1.6B?

And why do you include impact of the budget cut by the departing 2009 Congress when citing the the 550%?  See Fig 5.6 in the JWST Report. or here

Given that Hubble will have cost 12B at EOL, it is quite difficult to imagine anyone stepping up and thinking that even the 1.6B would have been adequate, including operations, and reserves ::)  Google NASA's cost paradox.....
« Last Edit: 02/08/2013 02:04 pm by muomega0 »

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: JWST: Albatross of SMD now $8.8 billion
« Reply #299 on: 01/14/2013 01:21 pm »
My sense is that it is a continued process of international space exploration efforts ala ISS, the Orion SM and someday  a Human Mars mission. This may be the “new normal” and I guess we have to get used to it...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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