Targeted launch date for Webb: 18 December 2021

Science & Exploration


ESA, NASA and Arianespace have collectively outlined 18 December 2021 because the goal launch date for Ariane 5 flight VA256. This third Ariane 5 launch of 2021 will fly the James Webb Space Telescope to house from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Important milestones of the launch programme for Webb have already been handed or are approaching, comparable to the ultimate mission evaluation overview for its launch, the cargo of the Ariane 5 launch car components from continental Europe to French Guiana, and the scheduled cargo of Webb to French Guiana by the top of September 2021.Webb is a global partnership between NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). As a part of the worldwide collaboration settlement, ESA is offering the telescope’s launch service utilizing the Ariane 5 launch car. Working with companions, ESA was accountable for the event and qualification of Ariane 5 variations for the Webb mission and for the procurement of the launch service. Besides that, ESA is contributing the NIRSpec instrument and a 50% share of the MIRI instrument, in addition to personnel to assist mission operations.“ESA is proud that Webb will launch from Europe’s Spaceport on an Ariane 5 rocket specially adapted for this mission. We are on track, the spaceport is busy preparing for the arrival of this extraordinary payload, and the Ariane 5 elements for this launch are coming together. We are fully committed, with all Webb partners, to the success of this once-in-a-generation mission,” mentioned Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation.“We now know the day that thousands of people have been working towards for many years, and that millions around the world are looking forward to. Webb and its Ariane 5 launch vehicle are ready, thanks to the excellent work across all mission partners. We are looking forward to seeing the final preparations for launch at Europe’s Spaceport,” mentioned Günther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science.

Webb and Ariane 5: a match made excellent

Ariane 5 will ship the telescope straight right into a precision switch orbit in direction of its vacation spot, the second Lagrange level (L2). After separation from the Ariane 5, Webb will proceed its four-week lengthy journey to L2 alone. L2 is 4 instances farther away than the Moon, 1.5 million km from Earth within the path away from the Sun.

Webb’s journey to L2

Webb will observe the Universe at wavelengths longer than seen mild, particularly within the near-infrared and mid-infrared. To achieve this, it carries a set of state-of-the-art cameras, spectrographs and coronagraphs. Webb will cowl longer wavelengths of sunshine than the Hubble Space telescope and has a 100 instances improved sensitivity, which opens up a brand new window to the Universe. The longer wavelengths allow Webb to uncover hidden elements of our Solar System, peer inside mud clouds the place stars and planetary programs are forming, reveal the composition of exoplanets’ atmospheres in additional element, and look farther again in time to see the primary galaxies that shaped within the early Universe.

Webb science

With its distinctive skills, Webb is a key mission amongst ESA’s fleet of house science missions that unlock the secrets and techniques of the Universe. Its discoveries will complement these of ESA’s present and upcoming exoplanet missions: Cheops, Plato, and Ariel. Webb may also observe up on detections from Euclid, ESA’s upcoming spacecraft to grasp the material of our cosmos. Furthermore, Webb’s discoveries will assist set the stage for ESA’s future X-ray mission Athena and gravitational wave detector LISA.

About Ariane 5Ariane 5 is an ESA programme. The launch car is manufactured by ArianeGroup. Arianespace is accountable for working Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on the northeastern coast of South America. The French house company CNES maintains and develops the launch vary infrastructures and in addition supplies important assist for launch car and satellite tv for pc preparation. ESA owns the launch infrastructure and is the launch car design authority.For extra data, please contact:
ESA Media Relations Email:

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