First Photos from James Webb Space Telescope to be Released on July 12th

Image (Credit): Artistic image with the JWST mirrors. (NASA)

NASA recently announced, in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, that the first photos from the James Webb Space Telescope will be released from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center via a televised broadcast beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. The first images will also be posted here.

All of this follows the recent micrometeroid incident. NASA has been pretty quiet since reporting on the initial damage, though the pictures appear to be arriving as expected, so that is good news.

In terms of any future repairs to the JWST, a NASA Q&A with Paul Geithner, the deputy project manager – technical for James Webb Space Telescope, gives us some idea about the difficulties of such a mission:

​Q: Webb was not designed to be serviced, but could it eventually be repaired or refueled during a robotic service mission?

Paul: Conceivably, some robotic servicing of Webb could be possible. A robot could grapple Webb at the same place where it was attached to the Ariane launch vehicle, which is the launcher interface ring on the Sun-facing spacecraft bus, and then add fuel to its propulsion tank. Given that Webb is an exquisitely sensitive infrared observatory, and much of it is at cryogenic temperatures, opportunities and benefits of servicing are limited.

Image (Credit): JWST mission quick facts. (NASA)