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Official site of the design, build, test and launch of JWST.
MORE JWST SITES:
Many organizations play a role in the JWST design, construction and in the future collection and distribution of JWST science data.
(Overview of the spacecraft, mission and science)
(Future home of science data and photos)
(Overview of the spacecraft, mission and science)
(European Space Agency)
(European Space Agency JWST site for scientists)
(Canadian Space Agency)
(NASA centers, academic and industry playmates)
JWST related Missions.
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On this page:
Photos are captured 1/min and automatically refresh on screen at the same rate.
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Cam one :
Houston Chamber A: The Big Cool Down
The temperature of Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston is steadily ripping off, creating a frigid environment for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope that is in stark contrast to the fever of the city.
You can view this contrast yourself by checking out the fresh temperature overlay on the Webbcam. With the Webb telescope locked away inwards Chamber A, you won’t see Webb itself on the Webbcam for several months. Now, however, you can see how the chamber’s temperature compares to that of Houston.
The temperature of the Chamber A will proceed to steadily drop until it reaches about twenty kelvins (minus four hundred twenty four degrees Fahrenheit/minus two hundred fifty three degrees Celsius), but it will take a little while longer for the Webb telescope and its instruments to reach the same temperatures they will be when operating in space.
The telescope and its instruments must transfer their fever to the surrounding liquid nitrogen and cold gaseous helium shrouds in Chamber A to achieve their operating temperature of about thirty seven kelvins (minus three hundred ninety three Fahrenheit/ minus two hundred thirty six Celsius). Because the Webb telescope’s mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) must be kept colder than the other research instruments, it relies on a cryocooler to lower its temperature to less than seven kelvins (minus four hundred forty seven degrees Fahrenheit/minus two hundred sixty six degrees Celsius).
In space, the telescope must be kept utterly cold in order to be able to detect the infrared light from very faint, distant objects. To protect the telescope from outer sources of light and warmth (like the sun, Earth and moon), as well as from warmth emitted by the observatory, a five-layer, tennis court-sized sunshield acts like a parasol that provides shade. The sunshield separates the observatory into a warm, sun-facing side (reaching temperatures close to one hundred eighty five degrees Fahrenheit/85 degrees Celsius) and a cold side (minus four hundred degrees Fahrenheit/minus two hundred forty degrees Celsius). The sunshield blocks sunlight from interfering with the sensitive telescope instruments.
The Webbcam Views
On our Webbcams are views of "Chamber A" at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Chamber A is a massive thermal-vacuum chamber. This means that it can mimic the vacuum of space, and can also be cooled to enormously low temperatures, like the ones at which the James Webb Space Telescope will be operating. Webb is presently at NASA Johnson for an end-to-end test of the telescope at cryogenic temperatures in Chamber A.
In more technical terms, the end-to-end test on Webb’s telescope involves passing light through the entire assembled telescope using test point sources of light from precision-placed fiber optics and using reflecting mirrors (three auto-collimating vapid test mirrors). This will re-check alignment of all the telescope optics assembled together and demonstrate that the individual primary mirror segments can be aligned to each other, and it will re-check the figures of the mirrors.
Albeit there is no view of Webb once it is inwards the chamber during the actual cryo-optical testing, there will be much activity on Webb in the cleanroom itself for several weeks before and after.
The photo is updated once per minute. The webcam pages and widgets update at the same rate to keep the latest picture on screen. You can view the webcam on our Home page or on our webcam page at various sizes up to 1920px broad.
Those who work in cleanrooms (like the one in front of Chamber A) must dress in the garments you see them in on the webcam (known unofficially as "bunny suits"). This is to ensure that any particles or contaminants on their persons are contained, in order to keep the room as clean as possible. The process of getting suited up is not trivial and the cleanroom workers often spend very long hours in the cleanroom without an effortless way to leave for cracks. We on the project are very appreciative of the hard work they put into building and testing the hardware in such a challenging work environment.
You can read more about how the testing is different for Webb and Hubble’s mirrors, and what Hubble trained us on our FAQ.
You can read about upcoming milestones on our "What’s Next" page.
Webb-cam Time-Lapse Movies
Note that our webcam was at NASA Goddard for many years. Be sure to check out our playlist of Webb-cam time-lapse movies that compress hours and even days of Goddard Webb-cam footage into a few minutes. Many of the latest significant events are captured in time-lapse.
Most Latest, Most Popular (fresh window) :
Telescope Structure (fresh window) :
Primary Mirrors (fresh window) :
Instrument Module (fresh window) :
About the Spacecraft Components
To learn more about the various components of the Webb Telescope, see the Observatory page as well as our interactive 3d spacecraft model (fresh window) (requires flash).