Long before the banks and General Motors became too big to fail, NASA made it a core value. There is no better example of how far NASA has fallen from the group that made us the program that gave us the program. Apollo Than the James Webb Space Telescope fiasco.
First proposed and funded in 1996 as Hubble's successor, in 2002 they told Congress that 11 years was more than the Apollo program needed to to put man on the moon from scratch – it won't be enough time to send charcoal
Then it slowed down again. And again. And again, spending billions of dollars in cost overruns, which hindered the financing of smaller experiments that had a great chance of work.
Credits: NASA / Chris Gan
Northrop Grumman engineers in Redondo Beach, California say they put two halves on JWST. It seems like everything fits in, so at least one group doesn't use metrics and one a standard like other NASA programs. They just don't know if it works, there's no electricity. But at least
If JWST actually launches in 2021
Hubble is now approaching 30 years. It was 6 when JWST was approved. With all the money spent on JWST, we could build one and maybe two intermediate programs that fit between what JWST might do and the 800 million years after the Big Bang that Hubble is seeing.
By doing smaller programs, JWST would have a much better chance of actually working in 2021.
Here's hoping it works, but if the Big Sciences era in America could end up in space, is in physics. Europeans do not have their version of GAO telling the EU that it should monitor ESA because their program executives will say everything about money like America. They are dealing with projects that have some level of confidence they can complete.