NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

About the James Webb Space Telescope


Artist's impression of James Webb Space Telescope in space
Artist's impression of the James Webb Space Telescope in space.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is NASA’s infrared flagship observatory. JWST is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Following on the technical and scientific legacy of previous optical and infrared space observatories, such as the Hubble, Spitzer and Herschel, JWST offers orders of magnitude improvements in sensitivity and spatial resolution from 0.6 to 28 micron, enabling transformative research in a broad range of science areas, including the solar system, exoplanets, star- and planet-formation, galactic science, galaxy formation and evolution, and cosmology.

The development of the observatory is managed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and the main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman. The Science and Operations Center for JWST is the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. STScI brings together the scientific community to enable and maximize the science of JWST. Its staff is responsible for the development of the ground system for JWST, which includes flight operations, as well as the software the astronomical community needs to plan and execute JWST observations, and to analyze the data it produces. STScI is also responsible for hosting the JWST data in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST).

Expected to be operational for at least 5 years, with a goal of 10, JWST is a general observatory, accessible to the worldwide community via regular calls for observing proposals. Proposed JWST programs are peer-reviewed and selected via an external time allocation committee.