A full-scale model
of the James Webb Space Telescope was built to show people just how large and complex the satellite really is. The model, made up mainly of aluminum and steel, weighs 12,000 pounds and is approximately 80 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 40 feet tall. It requires two trucks to ship it, and assembling it
takes a crew of 12 people approximately four days.
NASA may have decided to show off the Webb model in order to gain support for the mission, which has recently come under criticism. An independent review
(pdf) of the project declared that the telescope will likely be late and over budget
. Judging from the rate of progress and expenditures, the review panel said, the telescope won't be ready in 2014, and probably won't launch until September 2015. The panel also revealed that the price tag, originally estimated at $5 billion, is likely to climb to $6.5 billion. This has other NASA researchers worried that their own projects will be canceled to pay for Webb. NASA administrators promised to look into cost-cutting measures for the telescope, but they also affirmed that while Webb may be expensive, it will also be worth it.