Formerly known as the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), NASA renamed the craft in 2002 to honor former NASA administrator James Webb, the man the myth the legend appointed by John F. Kennedy who lead the space agency from 1961 to 1968 presiding over the Apollo Program.
The JWST embodies an international collaboration between the world’s greatest space agencies: NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the development of the space observatory with the aid of Northrop Grumman, while the Space Telescope Science Institute plans to manage and operate JWST following a successful launch.
An infrared telescope equipped with a 6.5-meter primary mirror, NASA intends Webb to effectively replace the Hubble Telescope, permitting thousands of astronomers worldwide an extraordinary window into the Cosmos, utilizing an array of tools capable of observing some of our Universe’s most intriguing and elusive phenomenon.
The JWST aims to study every era in the history of our Universe, examining the initial glows following the Big Bang to the formation of star systems, especially those supporting planets that could harbor life. The JWST will augment Hubble’s discoveries, with the ability to cover longer wavelengths with greatly enhanced sensitivity.
The Optical Telescope Element, JWST’s iconic 18 hexagonal primary mirror, will provide a deeper look into the Cosmos, allowing for the direct imaging of exoplanets and objects dating back to the ancient beginnings of our Universe, a feat currently unavailable with current technology.
James Webb Space Telescope, equipped with some of the most advanced technology ever developed by the greatest minds of our civilization. Credit: NASA/JWST www.jwst.nasa.gov/isim.html