This real-time video shows the separation of the James Webb Space Telescope from the Ariane 5 launch vehicle and the subsequent solar array deployment.

Webb’s launch on an ESA-provided Ariane 5 rocket was performed by Arianespace on behalf of ESA from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, at 12:20:07 GMT (13:20:07 CET) on 25 December 2021.

Webb separation from the Ariane 5 occurred at 12:47:14 GMT (13:47:14 CET) with solar array deployment starting 69 seconds later.

Thanks to Ariane 5’s highly precise launch trajectory Webb’s solar array was able to deploy soon after separation from the Ariane 5, capturing sunlight to power the observatory.

This video shows the view from Ariane 5’s upper stage, taken by a camera manufactured by Irish company Réaltra Space Systems Engineering.

Webb is the next great space science observatory following Hubble, designed to answer outstanding questions about the Universe and to make breakthrough discoveries in all fields of astronomy. Webb will see farther into our origins: from the formation of stars and planets, to the birth of the first galaxies in the early Universe. Webb is an international partnership between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Read more about this launch

  • Copyright: ESA/Arianespace ; Music: “Lonely Waltz” by Charlotte Hatherley, used with permission ; Camera: Réaltra Space Systems Engineering