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In Brief

James Webb Space Telescope's rocket begins fueling up for launch

Update for 8 a.m. EST: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope successfully launched in to space at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT). Read our full wrap story here.


The rocket that will finally launch NASA's James Webb Space Telescope today (Dec. 25) has begun fueling for liftoff. 

About four hours before the planned Christmas morning launch, the Ariane 5 rocket began filling up with 175 tons of propellant; 150 tons of liquid oxygen and 25 tons of liquid hydrogen are now flowing into the rocket's core stage. Another 15 tons of propellant will be loaded into the rocket's upper stage, and fueling is expected to be completed by one hour and 22 minutes before launch, a NASA spokesperson said in an update on NASA TV. 

The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to lift off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT). You can watch live launch coverage here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT).

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"A series of other briefings will be conducted over the next few hours to ensure that conditions remain favorable for launch," NASA's spokesperson added, "all this while Webb's systems are being carefully monitored for the momentous launch of the largest most powerful telescope ever sent away from our planet."

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her on Twitter @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.