NASA’s next big space observatory will likely miss its target launch date — again

NASA’s next big space observatory — the James Webb Space Telescope — probably won’t launch in March 2021, potentially creating added costs for the long-delayed and over-budget program. Unforeseen technical problems are prolonging the process of finishing up the telescope, making it increasingly likely that the spacecraft will have to launch at a later date.

The grim news is detailed in the latest report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which performs audits of federally run programs. The GAO, which has been keeping a watchful eye on the telescope’s development for years, claims that there is only a 12 percent chance the agency will meet its March 2021 goal, thanks to a recent analysis done in October by those working on…

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