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The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum announces the 2018 “Exploring Space Lecture” series. This year’s four-part series will focus on the James Webb Space Telescope, in preparation for its 2019 launch. Each of the lectures will take place at 8 p.m. in the museum’s Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater and is free to the public. Lectures will be followed by sky observing in the museum’s Public Observatory, weather permitting.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the premier space observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide who will use it to study every phase in the history of our universe. The “Exploring Space Lectures” will examine the final preparations for launching and commissioning the telescope and capture the excitement among leading participants eagerly anticipating “first light.”

Scheduled Programs

Feb. 7: “Engineering Miracles for Scientific Discoveries with the James Webb Space Telescope”

John Mather, senior astrophysicist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Apr. 18: Is Astronomy Ready for the James Webb Space Telescope?”

Ken Sembach, director, Space Telescope Science Institute

May 23: “The Hubble Space Telescope: Opening Cosmic Doors for JWST”

Jennifer Wiseman, Hubble Space Telescope senior project scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

June 20: “The Historical Quest to See to the End of the Universe…Or Its Beginning”

Robert Smith, professor of history, University of Alberta

The series is made possible by the support of Aerojet Rocketdyne and United Launch Alliance.

For more information on each lecture and to request free tickets, visit:

The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. The museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking before 4 p.m. at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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