Webb has been installed onto the Ariane 5 rocket in preparation for launch at 7:20 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021. We asked Amber Straughn, Webb deputy project scientist for communications, to tell us how people can watch the launch live online – and how to join the worldwide virtual Webb launch watch party:
As we are all eagerly anticipating launch, you might be wondering how to watch the launch and what to expect. Good news! NASA and its partners are planning a launch broadcast celebration that will be viewable in several different ways. Live countdown commentary and launch broadcast will begin at 6 a.m. EST (11:00 UTC) on Dec. 25 and air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, Theta.TV, and NASA’s App. You can also join the Facebook event to watch the launch live and interact with others watching the launch. The launch broadcast will continue until approximately one hour past launch, to follow the first several critical milestones post-launch. The actual launch window opens at 7:20 a.m. EST (12:20 UTC) and lasts for 31 minutes – we can launch at any point during that window.
The launch broadcast will include exciting scenes from the launch site in Kourou (naturally!), along with commentary from mission experts from both NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Mission Operations Center at the Space Telescope Science Institute. In the program you can also expect to see extraordinary video sequences showing construction of the telescope, in-person presentations about key technology, and cutting-edge animations depicting how it will unfold once it gets to space. Tune in to see an exciting new way to learn about the mission science and engineering. There might even be a launch event near you.
After the broadcast is over, follow the progress of commissioning by keeping an eye on our website and social media (Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram), and of course this blog. We will have almost-daily updates here for the first couple of weeks post-launch, and then will go back to a roughly weekly cadence for technical updates.
But you don’t have to wait until launch day to join in on the excitement. Check out the Journey to Space YouTube series, the Elements YouTube series, and if you are the creative type, submit art for our #UnfoldTheUniverse challenge. Find out even more “Need to Know” information here!
I personally cannot believe the day is almost here. I’m so very excited for launch!
—Amber Straughn, Webb deputy project scientist for communications, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
By Jonathan Gardner, Webb deputy senior project scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
And Alexandra Lockwood, project scientist for Webb science communications, Space Telescope Science Institute