Science and Exploration

Overview Of The James Webb Space Telescope Mission

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
April 11, 2023
Filed under , , ,
Overview Of The James Webb Space Telescope Mission
James Webb Space Telescope

Twenty-six years ago a small committee report, building on earlier studies, expounded a compelling and poetic vision for the future of astronomy, calling for an infrared-optimized space telescope with an aperture of at least 4m.

With the support of their governments in the US, Europe, and Canada, 20,000 people realized that vision as the 6.5m James Webb Space Telescope. A generation of astronomers will celebrate their accomplishments for the life of the mission, potentially as long as 20 years, and beyond.

This report and the scientific discoveries that follow are extended thank-you notes to the 20,000 team members. The telescope is working perfectly, with much better image quality than expected.

In this and accompanying papers, we give a brief history, describe the observatory, outline its objectives and current observing program, and discuss the inventions and people who made it possible.

We cite detailed reports on the design and the measured performance on orbit.

Comments: Accepted by PASP for the special issue on The James Webb Space Telescope Overview, 29 pages, 4 figures
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2304.04869 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2304.04869v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jonathan Gardner
[v1] Mon, 10 Apr 2023 21:22:19 UTC (36,059 KB)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.