- Press Release
- August 8, 2022
Webb Spacecraft Science & Engineering Center Contract Awarded
NASA awarded the Association of Universities for
Research in Astronomy (AURA) the contract to manage the
James Webb Space Telescope Science and Operations Control
Center. AURA is a non-profit consortium of educational
institutions formed to operate astronomical observatories.
The contract is for products and services required to
prepare the science program; develop ground systems; provide
science and engineering support; provide integration and
test support; perform educational and public outreach;
perform flight and science operations during the launch and
commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
AURA will manage the Science & Operations Control Center at
the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. The
total estimated contract value is $162.2 million. This
procurement will result in a cost-plus-fixed-fee type
contract. The period of the contract is from now through
launch, plus one year.
The JWST is scheduled for launch in 2011 aboard an
expendable launch vehicle. It will take about three months
for the spacecraft to reach its destination. The JWST will
reach an orbit approximately 1.5 million kilometers (940,000
miles) in space, called the second Lagrange Point (L2),
where the spacecraft is balanced between the gravity of the
sun and the Earth.
To see deep into space, the JWST will carry instruments
sensitive to the infrared wavelengths of the electromagnetic
spectrum. The new telescope will carry a near-infrared
camera, a multi-object spectrometer and a mid-infrared
camera/spectrometer. Infrared capabilities are required to
help astronomers understand how galaxies first emerged after
the rapid expansion and cooling of the universe, a few
hundred million years after the big bang.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., manages
the JWST for the Office of Space Science, NASA Headquarters,
Washington. The program has industry, academic and
governmental partners, including the European and Canadian
For information about NASA and Space Science Programs on the
For information about the JWST on the Internet, visit: