NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- It is symbolically a very important moment in the life cycle of the construction of the future USS John f. Kennedy, with the lowering of the ship's stern. All 933 metric tons of it.

Slowly and precisely, they dropped the section into place, into the drydock, to join up with the rest of the ship.

The JFK will follow its predecessor, the soon to be commissioned Gerald R. Ford, CVN-78.

Many of the skilled craftsmen at Newport News Shipbuilding who worked on that one, are now working on this one.

"So it was a lot of lessons learned that have been rolled into Kennedy," said Jeff Hummel, construction director. " We're performing much better from a cost an schedule perspective of the ship, which is to be expected. So the whole team is working hard to make sure we leverage those lessons."

Which is a good thing, since the Ford is coming about two years late and 23% over budget.

"So to date, we've documented off of CVN-78, the first of the class, about 60,000 different lessons through mechanics up through our engineering crowd, we have documented those lessons learned and applied them to 79," said Mike Butler, program director.

When it's done, the Kennedy is projected to cost $11.4 billion--about one and half billion less than the Ford. Commissioning is scheduled for 2020.