Feature Story | 22-Dec-2023

A Look Through Time with NASA’s Lead Photographer for the James Webb Space Telescope

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Nearly two years ago in the early morning hours of Dec. 25, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope successfully took flight from the jungle-encircled ELA-3 launch complex at Europe’s Spaceport near Kourou, French Guiana. Following a successful deployment in space, and the precise alignment of the telescope’s mirrors and instruments, Webb began science operations nearly six months after liftoff. As the two-year anniversary of the launch aboard ESA’s (European Space Agency) Ariane 5 rocket approaches, Webb’s lead photographer Chris Gunn has remastered a selection of his favorite images from his career, including one previously unreleased image. 

Since the fall of 2009, Gunn has routinely worked through holidays and weekends, and has spent much of these years on the road, ensuring that the Webb telescope’s progress is visually chronicled and shared with the world. As the various parts and components of Webb began to be assembled and tested throughout the country, Gunn and his camera followed along, capturing the historic development of NASA’s premier space telescope. Though Gunn’s images display the complex nature of the telescope aesthetically, these images also serve as critical engineering bookmarks that the team routinely relied on to document that Webb’s construction was sound before launch.   

Following the launch of Webb, Gunn is now chronicling NASA’s next flagship space telescope, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

IMAGES: https://science.nasa.gov/missions/webb/a-look-through-time-with-nasas-lead-photographer-for-the-james-webb-space-telescope/ 

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