Astronomical Costs

There has been concern expressed over the cost of flagship astronomical space-missions, particularly the James Webb Space Telescope which is due to be launched next year at a final cost of $8 billion.  Ideally astronomers would like to observe the universe in visible, infra-red, X-ray etc all at the same time to learn, in depth, about unfolding events. However with costs that high, it is likely that only one major telescope can be afforded per decade.

However now that SpaceX has cut the actual launch costs to one third, and aims to get them down to one fifth, the imperative to reduce the weight of the payload is reduced – and that relentless and expensive effort to miniaturise and use costly lightweight materials is also mitigated.

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