ESA will also be broadcasting in French and Spanish. A steady stream of updates will appear on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch, so as long as you have an internet connection you should be fine. NASA’s post-launch press conference is scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. EST (6:00 a.m. PST), also on NASA TV.
The launch will be exciting—and completely nerve wracking—but so too will be the first hour of the mission. Webb will need to deploy its solar panels and perform a course correction maneuver, as the spacecraft begins its one-month journey to the second Lagrange point (a gravitationally stable spot some 1 million miles from Earth). The next steps will involve a complex series of deployments and calibrations, with Webb expected to enter into the science phase of its mission in around six months.
Webb is the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built. The infrared observatory was supposed to launch in 2007, but technical and budgetary hurdles, among other issues, resulted in the delay. Astronomers will use the telescope to observe the universe’s earliest galaxies, investigate the birthplaces of stars and planets, and scan the atmospheres of distant worlds. The mission is supposed to last for at least five years, but the goal is to keep Webb going for 10 years.