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The James Webb Space Telescope is a large space telescope, optimized for infrared wavelengths. It is scheduled for launch later in this decade. Webb will find the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way galaxy. Webb will peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own solar system. Webb's instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range.
Webb will have a large mirror, 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) in diameter, and a sunshield the size of a tennis court. The mirror and sunshade won't fit into a rocket fully open, so both will be folded and open once Webb is in outer space. Webb will reside in an orbit about 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from Earth at the second Lagrange point.
The James Webb Space Telescope was named after a former NASA administrator.
Want to know more? Visit the James Webb Space Telescope project home page.