Photo credit: NASA/Chris Gunn
After numerous delays, NASA has officially confirmed the James Webb Space Telescope launch for Dec. 18, 2021, and when in orbit, it will serve as the premier deep space observatory for the next decade. This new date follows on the heels of Arianespace successfully launching an Ariane 5 rocket in late July and scheduling a launch that will precede Webb. The team is prepping for shipment operations, in which the observatory will undergo final closeout procedures before packing begins for its trip to the launch site. Read more for two videos and additional information.
When in full operation, the James Webb Space Telescope is set to explore every phase of cosmic history, whether it be from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe. It consists of 18 hexagonal mirrors looks like a giant puzzle piece, with the primary mirror designed to collect light for the observatory in the scientific quest to better understand our solar system and beyond.
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Webb is an exemplary mission that signifies the epitome of perseverance. I am inspired by our dedicated team and our global partnerships that have made this incredible endeavor possible. Together, we’ve overcome technical obstacles along the way as well as challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. I also am grateful for the steadfast support of Congress. Now that we have an observatory and a rocket ready for launch, I am looking forward to the big day and the amazing science to come,” said Gregory L. Robinson, Webb’s program director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.