Exciting times for the people building the successor to Hubble. Work has begun on the primary for the new telescope. For those who don’t know:
The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch in 2011. It will hang in space at the Lagrange-2 point of balance between the gravitational influences of the Earth and the sun. Astronomers will use the telescope to look back in the infra-red to the youngest days of the universe in the hope of finding out more about the birth of galaxies and stars, and gaining a better understanding of the size and shape of the universe.
In related news the robotic mission to save Hubble may be scrapped due to cost.