james webb telescope
"It is truly staggering to behold how this space telescope's cost and schedule projections went from costing the same as a Space Shuttle mission around half a billion dollars with an original launch goal in 2007to now becoming an expenditure exceeding $9 billion with a new launch goal in March 2021," said Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith. "That is nineteen times the original cost and a delay of fourteen years. It's hard to get much worse than that."
As NASA prepares for a key hearing later this week on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope, an agency official says that the mission’s delays will require nearly half a billion dollars that could come from cuts in other science programs.
The telescope's mirrors are covered in a microscopically thin layer of gold, which optimizes them for reflecting infrared light, which is the primary wavelength of light this telescope will observe. To ensure the mirror is both strong and light, the team made the mirrors out of beryllium. Each mirror segment is about the size of a coffee table and weighs approximately 20 kilograms (46 pounds). A very fine film of vaporized gold coats each segment to improve the mirror's reflection of infrared light.