In Photos: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Christmas Launch

(Image credit: NASA / Chris Gunn)

But first, the James Webb Space Telescope had to leave Earth behind and to do that, it had to get to its launch site.

Here’s the cargo ship carrying NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope that arrived in French Guiana on October 12, 2021, after a 16-day sea voyage. The space telescope is so large that it won’t fit inside the payload fairings of most American rockets, which is why NASA and its partners at the European Space Agency (among others) chose the Ariane 5 heavy-lift rocket from Arianespace to transport the observatory.

The Ariane 5 rockets are launched from the Guiana Space Center of Europe in Kourou, French Guiana in South America, so the Webb space telescope was sent on a cargo ship to the site with some secrecy, as the team from the mission was worried about pirates.

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