There has been some controversy surrounding the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) of late, with some wanting NASA to change its name. However, NASA has stuck to its name and has now begun to invite the press and other VIPs to witness the launch of the JWST. Currently, the launch is scheduled for December 18, 2021.
The telescope is a joint mission with the ESA, the Canadian Space Agency, and NASA. The ESA is handling launch services for the mission. An Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket will launch from an ESA space port in Kourou, French Guiana. NASA will air live coverage of the launch via NASA TV, the NASA app, and its website. It will also have photos of the launch to share after the fact.
Media are being invited to participate in the launch at two locations. One is at the launch site at the spaceport in Kourou. NASA will also hold launch coverage events at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. NASA is telling interested media partners to register their intent to participate by October 20.
While for now, the launch events are in person, NASA has been clear that with COVID restrictions in place, it may be unable to accommodate all of the requests for attendance. The JWST is one of the most anticipated science missions NASA has conducted in a long time.
When the telescope is in orbit, it will help scientists answer all sorts of questions about the cosmos. It will allow the exploration of all phases of cosmic history both inside our solar system, and all the way to the most distant galaxies that can be observed. Webb is the spiritual replacement to the aging Hubble space telescope and will operate well into the future.