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Oct. 28, 2021

Media Advisory: NASA to Hold Media Briefings Leading up to James Webb Space Telescope Launch

  • What: NASA media briefings on the James Webb Space Telescope, which will launch in December and involves partners from the University of Arizona
  • When:
    • Tuesday, Nov. 2, 8 a.m.
    • Thursday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. The noon briefing will feature UArizona Regents Professor of Astronomy Marcia Rieke, principal investigator for the telescope's NIRCam instrument.
    • Wednesday, Dec. 15, time TBD (Check NASA's news release page for updates.)
  • Where: The briefings will take place virtually. They will be livestreamed for the public on NASA TV, the NASA app and the agency's website.
  • RSVP: To participate by phone, media must RSVP no later than two hours before the start of each briefing to Laura Betz,, and Alise Fisher, Media and members of the public may also ask questions on Twitter using #NASAWebb.

TUCSON, Ariz. — The James Webb Space Telescope will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana on Dec. 18 to become NASA's new premiere space telescope. In the leadup to launch, NASA will host a series of media briefings on the telescope's instruments, science goals and more.

The telescope's Near Infrared Camera instrument, or NIRCam, was designed by the University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin. NIRCam's focal plane – similar to a digital camera's imaging sensor – was developed by a team led by Marcia Rieke, a UArizona Regents Professor of Astronomy. Her husband, George Rieke, also a Regents Professor of Astronomy, is co-principal investigator and co-team leader on the telescope's Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI, team. The Riekes played pivotal roles in the founding of the field of infrared astronomy.

The James Webb Space Telescope, known as Webb for short, will explore every phase of cosmic history – from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe and everything in between. Webb is expected to make new discoveries that help us understand the origins of the universe and our place in it.

Media briefing schedule (all times local):

  • Tuesday, Nov. 2
  • Thursday, Nov. 18
    • 9 a.m.: Media briefing on Webb science goals
    • 12 p.m.: Media briefing on Webb science instruments, featuring Marcia Rieke as one of the panelists
  • Wednesday, Dec. 15
    • Time TBD: Prelaunch media briefing

Additional resources for media:

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Media contact:
Mikayla Mace Kelley
University Communications

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2019 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $734 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 66 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.

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James Webb Space Telescope Space