James Webb Space Telescope Rocket Starts Refueling for Launch

The rocket that will finally launch NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope today (December 25) has begun fueling for lift-off.

About four hours before launch scheduled for Christmas morning, the Ariane 5 rocket began to fill with 175 tons of propellant; 150 tons of liquid oxygen and 25 tons of liquid hydrogen now flow into the rocket’s center stage. Another 15 tons of propellant will be loaded into the upper stage of the rocket, with refueling expected to be completed an hour and 22 minutes before launch, a NASA spokesperson said in an update on NASA TV.

The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to lift off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 7:20 am EST (1220 GMT). You can watch live coverage of the launch here on, courtesy of NASA TV, starting at 6am EST (1100 GMT).

Related: How the James Webb Space Telescope Works in Pictures
More: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Launch – Live Updates

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“A series of other briefings will be held over the next several hours to ensure conditions remain favorable for launch,” added the NASA spokesperson, “all while Webb’s systems are being carefully monitored for launch. The largest and most powerful telescope ever sent far from our planet. “

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@ or follow her on Twitter @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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