NASA To Launch Most Powerful Space Telescope Ever

National Geographic reports:

After more than a quarter-century of planning, designing, building, waiting—and of obsessively testing the most complex space observatory ever assembled—the mammoth James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch at 7:20 a.m. eastern time on December 25.

For JWST’s mission to succeed, the telescope must execute an intricate series of carefully choreographed maneuvers during its first month in space. Even a single misstep could compromise the entire mission. And the telescope must perform its devilishly difficult dance far beyond the reach of human hands, hurtling toward a point in space a million miles away.

The New York Times reports:

The telescope is scheduled to lift off at 7:20 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday from a European-managed spaceport in French Guiana on the coast of South America. The launch window lasts 32 minutes, until 7:52 a.m., in case there are any last-minute rocket checks or brief pauses in the countdown.

NASA, the telescope’s primary backer, will host a livestream on its YouTube channel beginning at 6 a.m., and on its main Twitter and Facebook accounts beginning at the same time. Agency officials will provide commentary with astronomers leading up to the launch. You can also register for a virtual launch event.

We’ll have the live-stream tomorrow morning.