James Webb Space Telescope Launch

James Webb Space Telescope Launch

Celebrate the James Webb Space Telescope Launch with the California Science Center through virtual activities/events!

11/24/21 - EverWonder? Podcast Episode featuring Stephanie Hernandez View Details
Image
Stephanie Hernandez, a systems engineer at Northrop Grumman
Image attribution
Northrop Grumman

Do you ever wonder what it was like to help build the James Webb Space Telescope?

Stephanie Hernandez is a systems engineer at Northrop Grumman working on the James Webb Space Telescope. She is part of the team that verifies literally thousands of things on the telescope while it’s on the ground first, to make sure that it will work in space later. In this new Ever Wonder? podcast episode, Stephanie gives us a sneak peek behind what it’s like to work on a such a prestigious and high-stakes spacecraft, how she got started at Northrop Grumman as a summer intern, and what this whole experience means to her as a first-generation college student. Listen to the podcast episode here.

11/29/21 - Educational Activity about Exploring Light View Details

Dive in with our Educator as we explore something we use every day, light! Explore how space telescopes “see” using different types of light and how you can use the same technique NASA scientist use to “see” unseen features. Watch video in English or Spanish.

12/08/21 - EverWonder? Podcast Episode featuring Vivian U, PhD View Details
Image
Dr. Vivian U from UC Irvine

Ever wonder how scientists will use the James Webb Space Telescope? 

Meet someone who has been dreaming for years about what we could see with this technological marvel. Vivian U, PhD (@JustTheLetterU) is an assistant research astronomer at the University of California, Irvine. She will also be one of the first people to conduct research with the James Webb Space Telescope! Vivian explains what she hopes to discover by pointing Webb at colliding galaxies and supermassive black holes, and why this telescope is expected to be so good at peering through dust. Stay tuned for released podcast episode here.

12/14/21 - Facebook Live Broadcast with Ken Phillips, PhD & NASA-JPL Astronomer View Details

Plan now to join us for a LIVE conversation between Michael Ressler, PhD, JWST/MIRI Project Scientist at Jet Propulsion Lab and Kenneth Phillips, PhD, the California Science Center's Curator of Aerospace Program about the James Webb Space Telescope launch. Discover how the Webb Telescope deepens our understanding of the universe, while being the largest and most powerful telescope ever built and launched into space! Stay tuned for more details on Facebook.

Image
James Webb Telescope Logo in Full Color/Black

About the Launch

The greatest origin story of all unfolds with the James Webb Space Telescope. Webb is NASA’s newest premier space science observatory – destined to be a household name, like its predecessor, Hubble. This is an Apollo moment for NASA science: Webb will fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe. It can observe all of the cosmos, from planets to stars to nebulae to galaxies and beyond – helping scientists uncover secrets of the distant universe as well as exoplanets closer to home. Webb can explore our own solar system’s residents with exquisite new detail and search for faint signals from the first galaxies ever made. From new forming stars to devouring black holes, Webb will reveal all this and more.

The launch readiness date for the James Webb Space Telescope is moving to no earlier than December 22 to allow for additional testing of the observatory. Webb was previously scheduled to launch December 18 on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana.

For more information about this launch, visit NASA's website.

Image
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope in the clean room at Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach, California.
Image attribution
NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

Image
For the James Webb Space Telescope to fit into the Ariane 5 Rocket, it must fold up. These images show how it fits into the rocket fairing.
Image attribution
ArianeSpace.com

The Launch Segment has 3 primary components:

1. Launch Vehicle: an Ariane 5 with the cryogenic upper stage. It will be provided in the single launch configuration, with a long payload fairing providing a maximum 4.57 meter static diameter and useable length of 16.19 meters.

2. Payload Adapter, comprising the Cone 3936 plus ACU 2624 lower cylinder and clamp-band, which provides the separating mechanical and electrical interface between the Webb Observatory and the Launch Vehicle.

3. Launch campaign preparation and launch campaign. The launch campaign preparation and launch campaign is the mutual responsibility of NASA, ESA, NGAS, and Arianespace.

For the Webb telescope to fit into the Ariane rocket, it must fold up. These images show how it fits into the rocket fairing.

Image
These blueprints of the James Webb Space Telescope were created as a prop for a video series, but since it was requested, we are offering them as a download! (Look close and you'll notice some of the smaller text is Latin!)
Image attribution
NASA

Blueprints of the James Webb Space Telescope

Image
Artist conception of the James Webb Space Telescope
Image attribution
NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

Artist conception of the James Webb Space Telescope

Image
James Webb Telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 Launch Vehicle
Image attribution
ArianeSpace.com

James Webb Telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 Launch Vehicle.

Image
NASA Technology Protects Webb Telescope from Contamination
Image attribution
NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA technology protecting Webb Telescope from contamination.

Image
NASA’s James Webb Telescope Packs Its Sunshield for a Million Mile Trip
Image attribution
Northrop Grumman

NASA’s James Webb Telescope packs its sunshield for a million mile trip.

Image
Webb’s Golden Mirror Wings Open One Last Time on Earth
Image attribution
NASA/Chris Gunn

Webb’s golden mirror wings open one last time on Earth.

Image
Simulations Show James Webb Telescope Can Reveal Distant Galaxies Hidden in Quasars’ Glare
Image attribution
M. Marshall (University of Melbourne)

Simulations show James Webb Telescope revealing distant galaxies hidden in Quasars’ glare compared to the Hubble Telescope.

Image
NASA’s James Webb Telescope to Make a Splash in Search for Interstellar Water
Image attribution
NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team, and M. McClure (Universiteit van Amsterdam) and A. Boogert (University of Hawaii)

NASA’s James Webb Telescope to make a splash in search for interstellar water.

Image
A New View of Exoplanets With NASA’s Upcoming James Webb Telescope
Image attribution
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

A new view of exoplanets with NASA’s upcoming James Webb Telescope.

Image
NASA's James Webb Telescope Will Study Jupiter, Its Rings, and Two Intriguing Moons
Image attribution
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

NASA's James Webb Telescope will study Jupiter, its Rings, and two intriguing moons.

Image
How the James Webb Telescope Will Explore Mars
Image attribution
NASA/JPL/MSSS

 

How the James Webb Telescope will explore Mars.

Image
NASA’s James Webb Telescope Using Quasars to Unlock the Secrets of the Early Universe
Image attribution
NASA, ESA and J. Olmsted (STScI)

NASA’s James Webb Telescope using Quasars to unlock the secrets of the early universe.

Image
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope in the clean room at Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach, California.
Image attribution
NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

Image
For the James Webb Space Telescope to fit into the Ariane 5 Rocket, it must fold up. These images show how it fits into the rocket fairing.
Image attribution
ArianeSpace.com

The Launch Segment has 3 primary components:

1. Launch Vehicle: an Ariane 5 with the cryogenic upper stage. It will be provided in the single launch configuration, with a long payload fairing providing a maximum 4.57 meter static diameter and useable length of 16.19 meters.

2. Payload Adapter, comprising the Cone 3936 plus ACU 2624 lower cylinder and clamp-band, which provides the separating mechanical and electrical interface between the Webb Observatory and the Launch Vehicle.

3. Launch campaign preparation and launch campaign. The launch campaign preparation and launch campaign is the mutual responsibility of NASA, ESA, NGAS, and Arianespace.

For the Webb telescope to fit into the Ariane rocket, it must fold up. These images show how it fits into the rocket fairing.

Image
These blueprints of the James Webb Space Telescope were created as a prop for a video series, but since it was requested, we are offering them as a download! (Look close and you'll notice some of the smaller text is Latin!)
Image attribution
NASA

Blueprints of the James Webb Space Telescope

Image
Artist conception of the James Webb Space Telescope
Image attribution
NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

Artist conception of the James Webb Space Telescope

Image
James Webb Telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 Launch Vehicle
Image attribution
ArianeSpace.com

James Webb Telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 Launch Vehicle.

Image
NASA Technology Protects Webb Telescope from Contamination
Image attribution
NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA technology protecting Webb Telescope from contamination.

Image
NASA’s James Webb Telescope Packs Its Sunshield for a Million Mile Trip
Image attribution
Northrop Grumman

NASA’s James Webb Telescope packs its sunshield for a million mile trip.

Image
Webb’s Golden Mirror Wings Open One Last Time on Earth
Image attribution
NASA/Chris Gunn

Webb’s golden mirror wings open one last time on Earth.

Image
Simulations Show James Webb Telescope Can Reveal Distant Galaxies Hidden in Quasars’ Glare
Image attribution
M. Marshall (University of Melbourne)

Simulations show James Webb Telescope revealing distant galaxies hidden in Quasars’ glare compared to the Hubble Telescope.

Image
NASA’s James Webb Telescope to Make a Splash in Search for Interstellar Water
Image attribution
NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team, and M. McClure (Universiteit van Amsterdam) and A. Boogert (University of Hawaii)

NASA’s James Webb Telescope to make a splash in search for interstellar water.

Image
A New View of Exoplanets With NASA’s Upcoming James Webb Telescope
Image attribution
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

A new view of exoplanets with NASA’s upcoming James Webb Telescope.

Image
NASA's James Webb Telescope Will Study Jupiter, Its Rings, and Two Intriguing Moons
Image attribution
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

NASA's James Webb Telescope will study Jupiter, its Rings, and two intriguing moons.

Image
How the James Webb Telescope Will Explore Mars
Image attribution
NASA/JPL/MSSS

 

How the James Webb Telescope will explore Mars.

Image
NASA’s James Webb Telescope Using Quasars to Unlock the Secrets of the Early Universe
Image attribution
NASA, ESA and J. Olmsted (STScI)

NASA’s James Webb Telescope using Quasars to unlock the secrets of the early universe.

Slider info
When is the launch date? View Details

Webb's launch date is set for December 22, 2021.

Where will the launch take place? View Details

Webb will be launched from Arianespace's ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. It is beneficial for launch sites to be located near the equator - the spin of the Earth can help give an additional push. The surface of the Earth at the equator is moving at 1670 km/hr.

What's inside? View Details

The instruments primarily have two functions: 1) imaging, or taking images of scientific targets; and 2) spectroscopy, or breaking down light into separate wavelengths – like raindrops create a rainbow – to determine the physical and chemical properties of various forms of cosmic matter.

Image
Inside James Webb Telescope
When will Webb start making its first observations? View Details

Webb begins gathering its first set of scientific observations after its commissioning process is complete, roughly six months after launch. The initial few weeks of commissioning includes Webb’s unfolding process, which occurs as Webb is on its month-long, million-mile journey to its operational orbit. The observatory then gradually cools down to its cryogenic operating temperatures before we can safely operate the science instruments (about 40 kelvin, or less than -380 degrees Fahrenheit), and the commissioning team aligns all of its mirrors and calibrates its scientific instruments. In order for Webb’s primary mirror segments to act as a single optic, each of the 18 segments must be aligned to within a fraction of a wavelength of near-infrared light, i.e., mere nanometers, or about 1/10,000th the thickness of a human hair!

Keep up with Webb’s journey and look out for Webb’s upcoming, stunning images on social media via @NASAWebb on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as the hashtag #UnfoldTheUniverse.

Image
Timeline of James Webb Space Telescope
What will happen to the telescope after deployment? View Details

After launch, the telescope will deploy on its 30-day, million-mile journey out to the second Lagrange point (L2). This video shows the deployment procedure, timeline, and location of the satellite during deployment. Learn more about the telescope's final orbit around L2.