James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope is a space-based observatory that will provide unprecedented images of the universe’s first stars and galaxies. L3Harris is playing an important role in the assembly, integration and testing of the telescope.

L3Harris Role

As part of the NASA team, L3Harris integrated components made by various partners to form the Optical Telescope Element, which will collect light and provide sharp images of deep space. L3Harris also combined the components of the Integrated Science Instrument Module, which hosts four cameras and spectrographs for gathering data. L3Harris later administered about 100 days of testing in a cryogenic vacuum chamber at Johnson Space Center to ensure the telescope elements perform in the harsh environment found in space.

Webb Space Telescope Mission

As the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb is slated for launch in 2021 and will take three months to travel 1.5 million kilometers (940,000 miles) to a point in space where it will be balanced between the gravity of the Earth and the sun.

Webb is a large, infrared-optimized telescope designed to study the formation of the first stars and galaxies, the evolution of galaxies, the production of elements by stars and the process of star and planet formation. Webb will be located much farther from Earth than Hubble and will contain a tennis court-sized sun shade that will keep the telescope cold, which is necessary for viewing infrared light. Webb will be packed inside and carried into orbit aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.