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JWST Current Status

On July 10, 2008, NASA formally approved the JWST project to move into its implementation phase. This decision followed a successful Preliminary Design Review (PDR) in March 2008 and a Non-Advocate Review in April. While all the science instruments and the "long lead" items like the primary mirror segments are already being manufactured, this approval marks the transition of the program into "Phase C" (Final Design and Fabrication). Phase D covers system assembly, integration and testing and launch. Since portions of this work occur while other subsystems are still in fabrication, NASA aficionados refer to this entire period as Phase C/D. Operations (Phase E: the fun part!) begins after instrument checkout and the cruise to L2.

The Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) is being built by a team led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, with Lead Investigator Dr. Marcia Rieke. The industrial partner is Lockheed-Martin.

The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is being built by the European Space Agency with Lead Investigator Dr. Peter Jackobsen.

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is a 50/50 collaboration between NASA and individual European nation states, managed by ESA. The US portion of the science team constructing MIRI is led by Dr. George Rieke, University of Arizona, the European team is led by Gillian Wright, UKATC. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is the US lead implementing center for MIRI.

The JWST Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) and Tunable Filter Imager (TFI) are being developed under the management of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The Canadian prime contractor is COM DEV (Ottawa & Cambridge). They work with the CSA and its science advisors led by the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (Project Scientist John Hutchings) and the Université de Montréal (TFI PI René Doyon).

The four instruments and the FGS use advanced detector technologies specifically developed for JWST. Teledyn (formerly Rockwell Scientific) is producing near-infrared HgCdTe detectors for NIRCam and the FGS. Raytheon is developing mid-infrared Si:As detectors for MIRI under the oversight of the Ames Research Center.

The members of the JWST Science Working Group (SWG) are listed at the SWG pages. The SWG provides guidance on the science goals and capabilities of JWST.


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