James Webb Space Telescope

James Webb Space Telescope

The largest, most complex and powerful space telescope ever built.

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First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope

Cosmic Game Changer: Northrop Grumman and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Read this fascinating three-part series on the creation of the James Webb Space Telescope.

James Webb Space Telescope in facility

Cosmic Game Changer: Northrop Grumman and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

sunsheild for the Webb Telescope

Game Changer Part II: Northrop Grumman and the James Webb Space Telescope’s Confounding Sunshield

Webb Telescope workers wearing bunny suits

Game Changer Part III: Triumph

technicians working on James Webb Space Telescope in cleanroom

What is Webb?

Northrop Grumman led the industry team for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the largest, most complex and powerful space telescope ever built.

The Webb Telescope fundamentally alters our understanding of the universe. Northrop Grumman ensured that this once unthinkable achievement became a reality. Identified as a top priority for astronomy and astrophysics by the National Research Council, the Webb Telescope is a key program for NASA and the scientific community and is central to the nation’s ground- and space-based astrophysics program.

Webb Datasheet
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What it Was Like to Work on Webb

Before we could begin to build the most complex telescope ever, we had to invent technologies that never existed before. For many Northrop Grumman employees, the opportunity to work on Webb was the opening for boundless opportunity. From a new element on the Periodic Table and embracing digital transformation to creating zero gravity here on earth, Northrop Grumman employees developed something that the entire universe can be proud of.

Read Stories about Working on Webb

Want a Deeper Dive? Check out Webb Telescope Infographics

James Webb Space Telescope Infographic with text Distance Matters

James Webb Space Telescope “Distance Matters” Infographic

graphical eye with text seeing is believing

James Webb Space Telescope “Seeing is Believing” Infographic

The James Webb Space Telescope is approximately a million miles away – that’s 4x the distance the Earth is from the moon.

Discover Webb

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How Webb is Defining Possible

NASA’s Webb Telescope is using its superb angular resolution and near-infrared instruments to discover and study planetary systems similar to our own, analyzing the molecular composition of extrasolar planets’ atmospheres and directly imaging Jupiter-size planets orbiting nearby stars.

Webb is making observations once thought to be impossible; multiple new technologies had to be invented simply to build it. The groundbreaking mirror and powerful instruments are being used to discover and study distant planetary systems.

Webb is also looking deep into the past, to a time when the earliest stars and galaxies were born. By extending our knowledge of the cosmos, the Webb telescope will help us answer the compelling questions, “How did we get here?” and “Are we alone?”

Webb Feature Stories

engineers working on space craft

In a League of Its Own

The Spacecraft Bus for the James Webb Space Telescope

Female engineer working on spacecraft

Cosmic Outfitters

Dressing Spacecraft for Mission Success

Fully assembled view of a space telescope in manufacturing plant

Engineering Marvel

The JWST Mega Sunshield Takes its Shape

Planets and sun from space

Alien Life Could Be Found on New Planets

Infographic showing artist rendering of James Webb Space Telescope and its spin off technologies

Spin-Off Technologies From Webb Telescope Are Helping Other Ventures

man holding cryocooler

The Coolest Technology: Cryocoolers

Cryocoolers are machines that keep sensors extremely cold so that satellites and space telescopes can take pictures on long-term missions. Whether we’re looking…

The Webb Team

NASA led the international partnership that included the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is managing the Webb Telescope project, and the Space Telescope Science Institute is responsible for science and mission operations, as well as ground station development.

As the prime contractor to develop the James Webb Space Telescope, Northrop Grumman designed and built the deployable sunshield, provided the spacecraft and integrated the total system. The observatory subsystems were developed by a Northrop Grumman-led team with vast experience in developing space-based observatories.

  • Ball Aerospace: Optical design, mirrors, wavefront sensing, and control design and algorithms
  • Harris Corporation: Optical telescope integration and testing
  • University of Arizona: Near-Infrared Camera
  • European Space Agency (ESA): Near-Infrared Spectrograph
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), ESA: Mid-Infrared Instrument
  • Canadian Space Agency (CSA): Fine Guidance Sensor with Tunable Filter Module
Northrop Grumman Webb team in front of the James Webb Space Telescope in cleanroom telescope being built in cleanroom

Northrop Grumman Employees Receive NASA’s Highest Honors for Building the James Webb Space Telescope

Cartwheel galaxy in space

Northrop Grumman-built James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory Help Scientists See the Universe in New Ways

teelscope image capture of distant universe

James Webb Space Telescope, Built in Partnership with Northrop Grumman, Reveals New View of the Universe

starry sky

Watch Northrop Grumman’s “The Dawn of Webb” Trailer

Folded James Webb Space Telescope

Northrop Grumman Enables James Webb Space Telescope’s Coldest Instrument to Reach Operational Temperature

James Webb Space Telescope in large building

Northrop Grumman Celebrates Webb Telescope’s Arrival at Lagrange Point 2

illustration of James Webb Space Telescope in space

James Webb Space Telescope Begins Million-Mile Journey

James Webb Space Telescope in large building

Northrop Grumman and NASA Complete Final Sunshield Deployment Test on the James Webb Space Telescope

James Webb Space Telescope in large building

Northrop Grumman Fully Assembles NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope