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LAUNCH OF JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE (JWST), Dec 25, 2021, French Guiana, 7:20 am ET

(NASA TV and ESA TV begin 6:00 am ET)

Update, December 22:  ESA just confirmed that the launch is on track for December 25.

Update, December 21:  ESA just announced the launch has been postponed to December 25 due to weather.  The launch window is open from 7:20-7:52 am ET.

Update, December 18: December 24, 2021 at 7:20 am ET is confirmed as the target launch date. A pre-launch press conference is scheduled for 2:00 pm ET on December 21, and a post-launch press conference will take place at approximately 9:00 am ET on December 24.

Launch coverage in English begins on NASA TV and on ESA TV at 6:00 am ET December 24.

ESA’s Web TV 2 channel will provide coverage in French, a simultaneous translation of the English broadcast, beginning 32 minutes before launch.

A pre-launch program beginning at 6:30 am ET followed by live launch coverage in Spanish will be on an ESA YouTube channel. NASA also will have launch coverage in Spanish beginning at 6:30 am ET on its Spanish-langugage YouTube channel.

Update, December 14:  The launch has slipped to no earlier than December 24 due to a communications problem between JWST and its Ariane 5 rocket.  NASA said more information would be provided by Friday, December 17.

Update, November 24: The investigation team concluded the telescope was not damaged by the incident and gave the go-ahead to fuel the observatory’s maneuvering engines.  Launch is scheduled for December 22 at 7:20 am ET.

NASA TV coverage will begin at 3:00 am ET and continue through the post-launch briefing scheduled to take place at 9:00 am ET.

Update, November 22:  NASA announced a four-day delay in the launch so JWST can undergo additional testing after a processing accident.  The now is scheduled for December 22 “to allow additional testing after a sudden, unplanned release of a clamp that secures the spacecraft to its rocket adapter sent vibrations throughout the observatory.”

Original Entry: NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace have selected December 18, 2021 as the launch date for the $9 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). JWST is a partnership among NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.  ESA is providing the launch on Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket at no cost to NASA as part of its contribution to the project.

Launch time is TBA as of September 8.

Ariane 5 is launched from the Guiane Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America.

JWST will not be placed into Earth orbit. Instead, it is headed to Sun-Earth Lagrange point 2, SEL2, 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away.


December 25, 2021
6:00 am - 11:00 pm