New clues about how ancient galaxies lit up the universe

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed that some of the universe's earliest galaxies were brighter than expected. The excess light is a byproduct of the galaxies releasing incredibly high amounts of ionizing radiation. ...

NASA's Webb Telescope wrapped in a mobile clean room

Before moving NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, and to assure that it's kept clean and safe, Webb got a very special wrapping treatment. The wrapping acts as a "mobile clean room," safeguarding the technological marvel from ...

Both halves of NASA's Webb Telescope successfully communicate

For the first time, the two halves of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope—the spacecraft and the telescope—were connected together using temporary ground wiring that enabled them to "speak" to each other like they will ...

NASA greenlights self-assembling space telescope

Sure, it sounds kind of far out: a modular space telescope, nearly 100 feet across, composed of individual units launched as ancillary payloads on space missions over a period of months and years, units that will navigate ...

Dream Chaser spacecraft may be used for Hubble repair mission

The final servicing mission to the venerable Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was in 2009. The shuttle Atlantis completed that mission (STS-125,) and several components were repaired and replaced, including the installation ...

Finding a needle in a space haystack

Stephanie Bernard is one in 24 million. The University of Melbourne PhD candidate is the only Australian given access to NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and she is using her time to explore one of the earliest galaxies in ...

A mechanical harmony to NASA's Webb Telescope sunshield

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has a giant custom-built, kite-shaped sunshield driven by mechanics that will fold and unfold with a harmonious synchronicity 1 million miles from Earth.

James Webb Space Telescope primary mirror fully assembled

The 18th and final primary mirror segment is installed on what will be the biggest and most powerful space telescope ever launched. The final mirror installation Wednesday at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, ...

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James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a planned infrared space observatory, the partial successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST will not be a complete successor, because it will not be sensitive to all of the light wavelengths that Hubble can see. The main scientific goal is to observe the most distant objects in the universe, those beyond the reach of either ground based instruments or the Hubble. The JWST project is a NASA-led international collaboration with contributors in 15 nations, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Originally called the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), it was renamed in 2002 after NASA's second administrator, James E. Webb (1906-1992). Webb had overseen NASA 1961-68 from the beginning of the Kennedy administration through the end of the Johnson administration, thus overseeing all the critical first manned launches in the Mercury through Gemini programs, until just before the first manned Apollo flight.

Current plans call for the telescope to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2014, on a five-year mission. The JWST will reside in solar-orbit near the Sun-Earth L2 point, which is on a line passing from the Sun to the Earth, but about 1.5 million km farther away from the Sun than is the Earth. This position, which moves around the Sun in exact orbital synchrony with the Earth, will allow JWST to shield itself from infrared from both Sun and Earth, by using a single radiation shield positioned between the telescope and the Sun-Earth direction.

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