April 12, 2018
NASA recently announced the formation of an external Independent Review Board for the Space Agency James Webb Space Telescope ( JWST ). The board will study a variety of factors that affect the success of the mission and will reinforce NASA's strategy to complete the final phase of integration and testing of the observatory, launch phase and start-up.
"We are exploring all aspects of Webb's final test and integration to ensure mission success, fulfilling its scientific promise," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a press release. of NASA. "The input from this board will provide a higher level of confidence in the estimated time needed to successfully complete highly complex tasks before NASA defines a specific launch time frame."
According to NASA, the board includes people with experience and experience managing programs, programming and cost management, systems engineering and the integration and testing of large and complex space systems, scientific instrumentation, unique flight hardware and missions with similar scientific goals to Webb.
The Independent Review Board is expected to take about eight weeks to complete the review process. Once completed, you will submit a presentation and a report that will describe your findings and recommendations.
NASA will review the findings of the Independent Review Board and the recent findings of Webb's Permanent Review Board before sending a report to Congress at the end of June. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, JWST's prime contractor, will proceed with final testing and system integrations before launch.
According to NASA the members of the Independent Review Board are:
- Mr. Thomas Young, NASA / Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Maryland – Retired (President)
- Dr. William Ballhaus, Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California – Retired
- Mr. Steve Battel, Battel Engineering, Inc. in Scottsdale, Arizona
- Mr. Orlando Figueroa, headquarters of NASA and Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland – Retired
- Dr. Fiona Harrison, Caltech University in Pasadena, California
- Mrs. Michele King, Office of the Chief Financial Officer / Division of Strategic Investments of NASA in Washington, DC
- Mr. Paul McConnaughey, NASA / Marshall Space Flight Center / Webb Standing Review Board (President) in Huntsville, Alabama
- Ms. Dorothy Perkins, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland – Retired
- Mr. Pete Theisinger, Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
- Dr. Maria Zuber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts
The JWST is the scientific successor of the Hubble Space Telescope  of NASA and is the most powerful space telescope ever built. It will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in South America.
In March, NASA announced a delay of at least six months from the end of 2019 until sometime in 2020 for the launch of the Webb telescope, citing the need for extensive testing and integration of its parts. The postponement could also increase the cost of the telescope beyond the $ 8 billion cap imposed by Congress. If that happens, the project must obtain a new authorization from Congress, according to NASA.
Video courtesy of Northrop Grumman
Jim Sharkey is a laboratory assistant, writer and science enthusiast general who grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, the hometown of Skylab astronaut and Shuttle Owen K. Garriott. As a young Star Trek fan, he participated in the letter writing campaign that resulted in the space shuttle prototype being called Enterprise.
While his academic studies range from psychology and archeology to biology, he has never lost his passion for space exploration. Jim started blogging about science, science fiction and futurism in 2004.
Jim resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has attended NASA's social gatherings for the landing of the Curiosity rover from the Mars Science Laboratory and the launch of NASA's LADEE lunar orbiter.