The James Webb Space Telescope will be the next great space science observatory, designed to answer outstanding questions about the Universe and to make breakthrough discoveries in all fields of astronomy. It is a once-in-a-generation mission.
Webb is designed and built to offer scientists the capabilities needed to push the frontiers of knowledge of our own Solar System, of the formation of stars and planets including planets outside our Solar System (exoplanets), and of how galaxies are created and evolve, in ways never before possible. Webb will observe the Universe at wavelengths longer than visible light, namely in the near-infrared and mid-infrared. Its data will be made available to the scientific community worldwide.
Webb carries a suite of state-of-the-art astronomical instruments capable of addressing a very broad range of outstanding questions in astrophysics. The instrument complement includes powerful cameras, coronagraphs, and spectrographs that will provide scientists with the data they need to analyse the materials that make up stars, nebulae, galaxies and the atmospheres of planets.
The James Webb Space Telescope is named after NASA’s second administrator, James E. Webb, who headed the agency from February 1961 to October 1968 and directed the Apollo programme.
|Launch date||25 December 2021|
|Mission duration||Nominal duration is 5 years; goal is 10 years|
|Launch vehicle||Ariane 5|
|Launch mass||6200 kg, including fuel and launch vehicle adaptor|
|Orbit||Sun-Earth L2 halo orbit, approximately 1.5 million km from Earth|
|Folded dimensions||10.66 m high x 4.47 m wide 6.5 m diameter,|
|Primary mirror||18 mirror segments of gold-coated beryllium|
|Sunshield||22 x 12 metres, 5 layers|
|Wavelength range||About 0.6 μm to 28 μm (visible to mid-infrared)|
|Operating temperature||Telescope at -233°C MIRI instrument at -266°C|
|Operations centre||Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, USA|
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The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Early Release Observations (ERO) will be among the first spectacular images and spectra taken following the commissioning of the observatory. This release will represent Webb’s debut to the world by showcasing the observatory’s capabilities and is intended to have immediate and dramatic appeal for a broad audience.Read more