From NASA: The James Webb Space Telescope stands tall in the world’s largest cleanroom at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center…..Webb is the biggest and most powerful space telescope ever built…..and it’s scheduled to launch next year.
Fully assembled, the Webb telescope is as tall as a three-story building. The size of the telescope is significant for the kinds of observations it will make. Webb will find the very first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang, answer fundamental questions about the evolution of our universe, and help in the search for life and habitable planets. Webb’s detectors can record extremely faint signals that will help us study planetary systems around other stars, and maybe even determine if any of the seven recently discovered Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby star could support life.
After rigorous testing at NASA Goddard, the Webb telescope is one step closer to launch. Engineers spent months testing space hardware in vibration and acoustics test facilities to ensure Webb will withstand the ride into space. Next, the Webb telescope will ship to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston for another important space environment test. Launching in 2018, the premiere space observatory will fold origami-style into a rocket and deploy like a transformer once in space. Webb will travel nearly 1 million miles away from Earth to its home orbit.