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NASA's James Webb Space Telescope launch: How to watch live Saturday

On Christmas Day, NASA will count down to the next spectacular chapter of astronomy.

Monisha Ravisetti Former Science Writer
Monisha Ravisetti was a science writer at CNET. She covered climate change, space rockets, mathematical puzzles, dinosaur bones, black holes, supernovas, and sometimes, the drama of philosophical thought experiments. Previously, she was a science reporter with a startup publication called The Academic Times, and before that, was an immunology researcher at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. She graduated from New York University in 2018 with a B.A. in philosophy, physics and chemistry. When she's not at her desk, she's trying (and failing) to raise her online chess rating. Her favorite movies are Dunkirk and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.
Monisha Ravisetti
2 min read

The Ariane 5 rocket from which Webb will launched on Dec. 25 in French Guiana.


Bright and early on Christmas morning, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is set for launch. Following a long ledger of unexpected delays and setbacks, astronomy's next great leap is finally scheduled to happen. Right now, the telescope is folded up at the tip of an Ariane 5 rocket in French Guiana, experiencing its last days on Earth.

Twenty years ago, the first bolts and blueprints of Webb came to fruition. Now, after decades of meticulous craftwork, innovation, hopes and dreams, one of the greatest scientific achievements of our generation is about to reach its big moment. Regardless of Saturday's outcome, this will be a date that'll go down in history.

The multi-billion dollar cosmic explorer is armed with technology that could unveil the unknown, unseen and mind-bendingly far reaches of our universe. It can show us, at last, what really happened just moments after the Big Bang and use powerful, precise infrared imaging to answer questions like: How did the very first stars form? Is there life beyond Earth? Are we missing a piece of the universe's puzzle?

Perhaps most baffling is the realization that with Webb, scientists may even find things they never thought to ask about. But for all these remarkable implications, the trailblazing telescope needs a flawless lift-off this Dec. 25.

Here's how to tune in.

How to watch NASA launch the James Webb Space Telescope

You can watch the momentous lift-off attempt, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021 at 4:20 a.m. PT (7:20 a.m. ET) online on NASA TV. We'll also be live-blogging the event bright and early on Christmas morning to keep you updated in real time on the ambitious liftoff. 

Here's that time around the world:

  • USA: 4:20 a.m. PT / 7:20 a.m. ET
  • Brazil: 9:20 a.m. (Federal District)
  • UK: 12:20 p.m.
  • South Africa: 2:20 p.m.
  • Russia: 3:20 p.m. (Moscow)
  • UAE: 4:20 p.m. 
  • India: 5:50 p.m.
  • China: 8:20 p.m.
  • Japan: 9:20 p.m.
  • Australia: 11:20 p.m. AEDT

In the meantime, you can catch up on all things James Webb here and take a deeper dive into the machinery here. Plus, be sure to check out CNET Highlights, our YouTube channel, for more of the latest mission details. 

Watch this: James Webb Space Telescope: NASA's powerful space observatory, explained