The news has just come in: the United States Senate has decided to fully fund the James Webb Space Telescope, and it should be set to launch in 2018, which is the earliest it can possibly go ahead at this point.
Universe Today has the full story, and reports:
The 2012 fiscal year appropriation bill, marked up today by the Senate, allows for continued funding of the James Webb Space Telescope and support up to a launch in 2018!
In addition to continued funding for the telescope the 2012 bill also allots the National Aeronautics and Space Administration $17.9 billion (a reduction of $509 million or 2.8 percent from the 2011 enacted level) and preserves NASA’s portfolio balanced among science, aeronautics, technology and human space flight investments, including the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle, the heavy lift Space Launch System, and commercial crew development.
Thanks to everyone who wrote or called their Senator or Congressperson, or otherwise lent their support. It’s a huge victory for astrophysics in this country to see that the United States is committed to going big, not going home. You can read the full bill summary here.