sci19004 — Announcement

News Update on the James Webb Space Telescope

15 May 2019

Antonella Nota (ESA/STScI) and Pierre Ferruit (ESA)

Please note: some of the information in this science update may now be outdated, as it was originally published in May 2019.

The James Webb Space Telescope is well on track for launch in March 2021. Extensive, careful testing continues steadily at Northrop-Grumman; at the time of writing, one piece of James Webb, the assembled spacecraft and sunshield is in its last stretch of thermal vacuum testing. When that is completed, the second piece of JWST, the telescope and the instruments will be integrated, and by August, this majestic observatory will finally be one.

Thorough oversight of testing activities by NASA continues, and a recent report of the NASA Standing Review Board concluded that 21 March remains a valid launch readiness date.

In the field, we feel that the excitement for this extraordinary mission is starting to grow, especially triggered by the publication of the scientific timeline (see attached figure). Now is the time to start re-thinking seriously about how best to exploit the superb capabilities offered by the James Webb observatory. We now know that the Cycle 1 Guest Observer Call will open at the end of January 2020, with a proposal deadline of 1 May, 2020. During that time, training workshops will be organised throughout Europe and the US, providing you all with opportunities to learn the proposal tools and to ask questions to the experts, as you finalize your proposals.

The James Webb Cycle 1 Time Allocation Committee (TAC) will convene at STScI in July–August 2020. A large number of astronomers will be taking part in this review, that will have ample European participation. At that point, the Cycle 1 observing programme will be constructed, and will include, in addition to the Cycle 1 science, the Early Release Science (ERS) observations and the Guaranteed Time Observers (GTO) observations.

The James Webb Space Telescope teams still have a busy calendar ahead before they can bring to you the fruits of their labours. We are looking forward to being totally “wowed” by the Early Release Observations (EROs), the observations designed to fully showcase the capabilities of this powerful telescope, which will effectively declare the JWST observatory ready for science and open for business. The ERO observations will be taken approximately six months after launch, after the observatory has been fully commissioned. 

Stay tuned for future updates as we approach the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope!


Antonella Nota (ESA HST Project Scientist, STScI) and Pierre Ferruit (ESA Project Scientist)

About the Announcement



JWST Science Planning Timeline
JWST Science Planning Timeline

Privacy policy Accelerated by CDN77