After nearly two decades of budget overruns, delays, and technical glitches, the James Webb Space Telescope is almost ready to launch. Its latest delay is just for one day, which means it could launch on Christmas.

JWST, a successor to the Hubble, has been delayed for twice as long as it is expected to last - its lifespan is only projected to be 10 years - but Hubble shouldn't still be operational either and it is. The good new is it may be peering into the past for a lot longer than estimates. The bad news is that it may not work. Hubble did not work when it went up but at least it was in orbit so a space shuttle could get there. JWST is really out there. If it does not work, the era of Big Government Space programs could be over, because it will be more evidence that NASA is a job works program that holds back progress the private sector is making. Basically, critics would contend they are the US Postal Service of aerospace, a relic of the past.

For lots of reasons, a fraction of them being science but all claiming that is the driver, all eyes will be on the Ariane 5 and Centre Spatial Guyanais Christmas morning.