Nasa cancels costly X-ray telescope

2012-06-08 20:10


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Canaveral - Nasa killed a new X-ray telescope mission on Thursday, two years before its planned launch.
The Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer mission, or Gems for short, was supposed to blast off in 2014 to study black holes and neutron stars. But external reviews found the project would likely come in considerably over budget.

Gems was selected under a strict cost cap, Nasa officials said, unlike the price-busting James Webb Space Telescope to be launched in 2018.

"That cost cap is a very important aspect of the development of the project," said Paul Hertz, director of Nasa's astrophysics division. Webb "is different."

Billions over budget and years behind schedule, Webb is Nasa's largest science project and considered the successor to Hubble Space Telescope. Both Webb and Gems are managed by Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland.

Technology delays

Adjusted for inflation, Gems was supposed to hold at $119m, not counting the rocket, but independent reviews estimated the final cost at 20% to 30% above that, Hertz said.

Hertz said in a news conference that the technology needed for the instrument took longer to develop than expected, and that drove up the price.

It will cost Nasa an estimated $13m to close out the project, Hertz said. After adding in the money already spent on Gems, the final tab for the space agency will be $50 million.

No rocket had yet been purchased for the mission, and the telescope itself had not yet been built.

A number of existing observatories can address some of Gems' science questions, Hertz said, including the NuStar telescope due to lift off next week from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

Read more on:    nasa  |  space

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.