April 9, 2018

NASA announces independent review board members for Webb Telescope

The combined Optical Telescope element / Integrated Science instrument module of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is lifted out of the Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road and Sea container. Webb’s Spacecraft Element (SCE) that includes the sunshield and spacecraft bus are pictured on the far left.

NASA has assembled members of an external Independent Review Board  for the agency’s  James Webb Space Telescope.

The board will evaluate a wide range of factors influencing Webb’s  mission success and reinforce the agency’s approach to completing the final integration and testing phase, launch campaign, and commissioning for NASA’s next flagship space science observatory.

“We are exploring every aspect of Webb’s final testing and integration to ensure a successful mission, delivering on its scientific promise,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “This board’s input will provide a higher level of confidence in the estimated time needed to successfully complete the highly complex tasks ahead before NASA defines a specific launch time frame.”

The board, convened by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, includes individuals with extensive experience in program and project management, schedule and cost management, systems engineering, and the integration and testing of large and complex space systems, including systems with science instrumentation, unique flight hardware, and science objectives similar to Webb.

The Independent Review Board review process will take approximately eight weeks. Once the review concludes, the board members will deliver a presentation and final report to NASA outlining their findings and recommendations, which are expected to complement recent data input from Webb’s Standing Review Board. NASA will review those findings and then provide its assessment in a report to Congress at the end of June. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, the project’s observatory contractor, will proceed with the remaining integration and testing phase prior to launch.

The board consists of the following notable leaders in the space science community:

Thomas Young, NASA/Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Md. – Retired (Chair)
Dr. William Ballhaus, Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, Calif.- Retired
Steve Battel, Battel Engineering, Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Orlando Figueroa, NASA Headquarters and Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. – Retired
Dr. Fiona Harrison, Caltech University in Pasadena, Calif.
Michele King, NASA Office of Chief Financial Officer/Strategic Investments Division in Washington, D.C.
Paul McConnaughey, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center/Webb Standing Review Board (Chair) in Huntsville, Ala.
Dorothy Perkins, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. – Retired
Pete Theisinger, Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Dr. Maria Zuber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

Webb is the world’s next great space science observatory. Webb will solve mysteries of our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

For more information about Webb, visit www.nasa.gowebb.

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