Using the Hubble Space Telescope, the researchers found a planet so dark that it absorbs 94% of the light that reaches it. Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland).
WASHINGTON – A government watchdog warns that the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Hubble's long-awaited successor that has been affected by schedule failures and cost overruns, I could face more delays.
NASA announced in September that it had delayed the release date of JWST from the end of 2018 until sometime in the spring of 2019 due to test delays attributed in part to the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas Gulf Coast in August.
On Wednesday, legislators from the Chamber's Committee on Science, Space and Technology said it could take longer to launch the world's most powerful telescope.
"There may be more delays given the risks associated with future work and the level of reserves are now (below) what is recommended," said Cristina Chaplain, Director of Acquisition and Supply Management of the Office of Responsibility Governmental.
Programming reservations are additional time integrated into the tim project The states that are used to mitigate delays or address unforeseen risks.
The chaplain recognized the complexities associated with the construction, assembly and testing of one of NASA's most ambitious missions. When launched, the orbiting infrared observatory appointed by the NASA administrator most associated with the Apollo program will be 100 times more powerful than Hubble and can look towards the beginning of time and look for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies.
Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's Associate Administrator for scientific missions, told lawmakers that he hopes the space agency can meet the spring schedule of 2019.
"I think it's possible," he said.
The telescope has been plagued by delays and excesses since it was first conceived more than 20 years ago. Initially, NASA hoped to build the next generation observatory for less than $ 1 billion and launch it by 2011. By 2009, the cost had skyrocketed to almost $ 5 billion, prompting Congress to take the step unusual to limit total costs.  Under the current 2019 schedule, the price would be approximately $ 8 billion.
The project has encountered several bumps along the road, including in 2014 when the main contractor Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems had to rebuild parts of the structure and problems persisted with the development of the cryogenic cooler necessary to cool the infrared sensors of the telescope.
JWST is not the only observatory of NASA under the microscope of Congress.
Two other space telescopes are being developed: the Wide Field Infrared Telescope (WFIRST) and the Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Satellite (TESS) – also face varying degrees of challenges that could lead to increased costs or delays, according to the GAO.
. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, urged NASA to address problems before they get out of control.
"We are on the cusp of something very significant for humanity, but we are still in the beginning, many more surprising discoveries await us," he said. "In the future, Congress needs to have the necessary confidence in NASA and its contractors to put us on the right track at a reasonable cost."
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