NASA awards launch contract for next space telescope to SpaceX

NASA on Tuesday awarded a new contract to SpaceX to launch the agency’s next telescope into space in 2026.

NASA is expected to pay SpaceX $255 million to launch the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope from its Falcon Heavy rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Flight Center in Florida, according to a press release from the agency.

The target date for the launch is October 2026.

The Roman is the next big space telescope for NASA after the popular James Webb, which just released dazzling images this month of the universe looking back billions of years in time. Webb is transformative technology that can capture stars and galaxies light-years away in the infrared.

According to NASA, the Roman Space Telescope is the space agency’s next adventure. The telescope will “tackle outstanding questions in cosmology, including the effects of dark energy and dark matter, and exoplanet exploration.”

The telescope was previously known as the Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope but was renamed to honor the first woman to hold an executive position at NASA.

Roman, who died in 2018, oversaw the design and production of the Hubble Space Telescope, the first telescope to launch into space.

Tags California NASA SpaceX

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