NASA have said that the James Webb Space Telescope will cost $8.7bn to run and maintain over a period of five years, when the project is started in 2018.
According to documents which were sent to the US Congress, the updated figures are $2 bn higher than the previous estimates.
The James Webb Telescope has a mirror 2.75 times the diameter of Hubble’s primary mirror with 18 Beryllium mirror segments inside.
The telescope, known as the ‘JWST’ is a huge infrared design which is aiming for a 2018 launch. The telescope will find the first galaxies which formed in the early universe which will connect the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. The JWST will be able to look through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems. The high tech instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum with some capability in the visible range.
The class leading mirror is 6.5 meters in diameter and has a sunshield the size of a tennis court. They are too big to mount on any rocket in the open state, so will be folded up then opened, once Webb is in space. It will be positioned around 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from the Earth.
The telescope is named after the NASA Administrator who crafted the Apollo program.
Reports from various sources claim that the telescope might not be ready until at least 2020.
A NASA spokesperson spoke to the BBC news and said that the $8.7bn figure is the new ‘baseline’ price tag for JWST. Meaning the life cycle cost of the whole project, including the operation of the observatory.
Kitguru says: It could mark the breakthrough of new findings, detailing the origins of Earth.