James Webb Space Telescope scientists prepare for 1st operational images: Listen in today

Join in for free Wednesday (June 29) as NASA celebrates the forthcoming end of commissioning for its $10 billion next-generation space observatory.

In a series of talks, the agency plans to discuss the James Webb Space Telescope and its aims to uncover more about the early universe, solar system objects, exoplanets and a range of interesting things around the universe.

NASA will broadcast audio from the event, held in Baltimore at the Space Telescope Science Institute, starting at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). You can tune in here courtesy of NASA or directly at the agency's website.

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Participants include NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, and Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

In addition, the event will include two panels. One will be dedicated to science topics and the other will highlight the observatory's commissioning process and design.

The talks come two weeks before NASA unveils the first science-quality images from the observatory. That milestone will occur on July 12 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT), and will be webcast live.

Webb launched into space Dec. 25, 2021 and has been working to prepare each of its four scientific instruments for operation. 

You can follow along with the instruments' "check-off" list on the "Where is Webb" NASA webpage. The full list of Webb's first cycle of observations is available at this website from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which runs Webb operations.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace