When the Obama administration announced its proposed NASA budget in February, astronomers worldwide breathed a sigh of relief. Despite significant cuts in other areas, funding for the James Webb Space Telescope had been maintained. Building and installing the telescope is going to cost US$8 billion – a lot of money for a single scientific facility. The project has also been plagued by considerable delays for the best part of a decade and was even slated for cancellation last year. So why did astronomers fight so hard to get the project back on track? Quite simply, it is the successor to one of the most successful scientific facilities ever built - the Hubble Space Telescope.