If the House Appropriations Committee gets its way, it looks like the James Webb Space Telescope is toast.
Appropriations Committee Releases the Fiscal Year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations, House Appropriations Committee
“NASA is funded at $16.8 billion in the bill, which is $1.6 billion below last year’s level and $1.9 billion below the President’s request. This funding includes:
- $4.5 billion for NASA Science programs, which is $431 million below last year’s level. The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management…”
As the details about the House Appropriations Committee’s proposed FY2012 NASA budget sink in, more individuals and organizations are raising concerns about the budget. The one item that has received the most attention has been the committee’s plan to terminate funding for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), effectively ending the program. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) released a statement Thursday calling on Congress to “support JWST to its completion” but also “provide strong oversight” for a project that has suffered major cost overruns and schedule delays. “It is time to complete construction and look ahead to JWST’s launch and science operations,” the AAS statement notes.
The proposed termination of JWST has attracted the attention of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who chairs the corresponding appropriations subcommittee in the Senate. “It was a shortsighted and misguided move,” she said in a statement about the House appropriators’ decision to kill the project, noting that ending JWST would “kill 2,000 jobs nationwide and stall scientific progress and discovery.” She also called on the White House to “step in and fight for the James Webb Telescope.”