Several NASA astrophysics missions in various stages of development are likely facing delays because of the coronavirus pandemic, an agency official said.
Four months after closing centers because of the coronavirus pandemic, NASA has been able to keep its highest priority missions on track, even as others have suffered delays.
NASA hopes to keep the costs of additional delays in the James Webb Space Telescope within the program’s existing reserves and thus avoid asking Congress for additional funding.
The head of NASA’s science directorate confirmed June 10 that the James Webb Space Telescope will miss its March 2021 launch date, a slip that was all but inevitable as the coronavirus pandemic slowed work on the spacecraft.
NASA will turn off an aging infrared space telescope in a week, citing the complexities of continuing to operate the spacecraft as it drifts away from the Earth.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill Sept. 26 that would give $22.75 billion for NASA, but expressed some frustration about the lack of details in the agency’s plans to return humans to the moon.