Mission Overview

mission wavelength

Wavelength Coverage

mission coverage

The James Webb Space Telescope features a 6.5 meter segmented primary mirror and 4 science instruments, each of which offers a variety of configurations and operating modes for infrared observing. Launch is planned for spring of 2021, with science operations commencing a few months hence.

Active From

(Launch dates TBD)


Varies by Instrument and Observing Mode.  Please see individual instrument pages for specifics.  


  • Direct Imaging
  • Coronography
  • Aperture Mask Interferometry
  • IFU Imaging Spectroscopy
  • Spectroscopy

On this Page


Mid-InfraRed Instrument
Near-InfraRed Camera
Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph
Near-InfraRed Spectrograph


Direct Imaging X X X  
Coronography X X    
Aperture Mask Interferometry     X  
IFU Imaging Spectroscopy X     X
Spectroscopy X X X X


Featured Data Products

Search Tools

MAST Portal

Search multiple missions using target names or coordinates.


Tools for programmatically querying the MAST Portal

Primary Documents

Image Gallery

JWST Mirrors at GSFC

A composite of nine wide-angle images showing the NASA Goddard clean room on May 4, 2016.  (Image courtesy NASA/Francis Reddy.)

JWST Scale Comparison

This image compares the sizes of the primary mirrors of the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope.  (Image courtesy NASA.)

JWST Mirror Segments

This is a photo of one of the James Webb Space Telescope's engineering design primary mirror segments coated with gold by Quantum Coating Incorporated.  (Image courtesy NASA/Drew Noel.)

JWST Sunshield

The Sunshield on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is the largest part of the observatory—five layers of thin membrane that must unfurl reliably in space to precise tolerances.  (Image courtesy NASA/Chris Gunn.)

External Links