Budgets and telescopes

Roamy here.   In the early 90’s, Space Station Freedom came within one vote of being cancelled.  NASA restructured it and invited Russian cooperation in order to save the program, though it was cut down so much, we jokingly called it Space Station Fred.  Also in the early 90’s, the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility was also restructured and split into two telescopes.  One would become the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the other ended up in File #13.  More recently, cost overruns killed the Ares program.

I read  this article about the budget problems and the James Webb Space Telescope.  Some good points here – 75% of the hardware has been made or obligated to be made, including the mirrors, so it appears that cutting out some of the instruments won’t save much at this point.  They are asking for a lot more money to finish the telescope, which either won’t happen at all in this recession or it will be in small enough increments to stretch out the program for years.  Cutting out some of the testing and verification would save money, at the risk of having a telescope a million miles away at L2 that isn’t working and can’t be repaired.

The last I heard, the launch had slipped by four years to 2018, and there was a good deal of murmuring in the room at that.  Is it worth going forward?