How to watch the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope

The Webb Space Telescope awaits the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket.

The Webb Space Telescope awaits the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket.
Photography: ESA / CNES / Arianespace

After decades of waiting, the Webb Space Telescope is finally ready to take off. You can watch this historic launch live right here.

For years, I have had to refer to the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and promise that this $ 10 billion observatory, a joint project of NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), will one day fundamentally change our view of the cosmos. For me, the experience of writing this post “how to watch” is nothing but surreal, and I can hardly believe that it is happening. But the truth is – it seems that the wait is finally over, while Web is packed on top of the rocket and looking up at the sky.

The space telescope is scheduled to be launched at 7:20 EST (4:20 PST) on Christmas morning from the Guyana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The Ariane 5 rocket will perform a heavy takeoff, exploding from the ELA-3 launch complex. The 32-minute launch deadline for that day will end at 7:52 EST (4:52 PST).

NASA TV will provide a rocket fuel update at 3:00 EST (12:00 PST), but the real show starts at 6:00 EST (3:00 PST). The live broadcast of the launch will be available at NASA TV, YouTube, and further ESA WEB TV ONE. Or you can stay here and follow the action on the feed below.

ESA will also broadcast French i Spanish. A steady stream of updates will appear Facebook, Twitter, i TwitchSo as long as you have an internet connection it should be fine. NASA’s post-launch press conference is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. EST (6:00 p.m. PST), also on NASA TV.

The launch will be exciting – and completely annoying – but so will the first hour of the mission. Webb will have to deploy its solar panels and perform a course correction maneuver, while the spacecraft begins its one-month journey to another Lagrange point (a gravity-stable point about a million miles from Earth). The next steps will include a complex series of setups and calibrations, with Webb expected to enter the scientific phase of his mission in about six months.

The Webb is the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built. The Infrared Observatory was supposed to be launched in 2007, but technical and budgetary obstacles, among other things, led to delays. Astronomers will use the telescope to observe the earliest galaxies of the universe, explore the birthplaces of stars and planets, and scan the atmosphere of distant worlds. The mission should last at least five years, but the goal is to keep the Web going for 10 years.

More: Here’s what else could go wrong with the Webb Space Telescope.

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Naveen Kumar

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