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N° 28–2013: Call for Media: Delivery of James Webb NIRSpec flight instrument to NASA

27 August 2013

Media representatives are invited to see ESA’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument that will fly on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and to attend a briefing highlighting the European role in JWST before NIRSpec is shipped later this September to NASA for integration on the telescope.

The media briefing is being jointly organised by Astrium and ESA and will take place at Astrium GmbH, in Ottobrunn near Munich, Germany, on 6 September at 10:30-14.00 CEST.

NIRSpec is one of four instruments of JWST. It is the second European instrument of the mission provided by ESA, after the delivery to the US of the European Mid-Infrared camera and spectrograph (MIRI) last year. With NIRSpec scientists will address many outstanding astrophysical questions, ranging from how distant galaxies form and evolve to what are the characteristics of the atmosphere of planets around other stars.

The James Webb Space Telescope is a partnership between ESA, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency and is conceived as the successor of the very successful NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. JWST will help us to find out more about the origins of the Universe by observing infrared light from the first stars and galaxies and will show us in detail how stars and planets form.


Media who would like to participate are kindly requested to accredit via an email to:

Media contact: Mathias Pikelj


NIRspec Delivery

Media Briefing


6 September 2013


Astrium GmbH

81663 Munich



10:30              Doors open 


11:00              Introduction

Mathias Spude, Director of Communications and PR, Astrium Germany

11:02     Welcome

Michael Menking, Head of Earth Observation, Navigation and Science, Astrium: Astrium supporting space science in Europe

11:15     Alvaro Giménez, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, European Space Agency: Europe’s role in JWST

11:30     Eric Smith, JWST Deputy Program Manager, NASA: NIRSpec and JWST

11:45     Mark McCaughrean, Head Research and Scientific Support Department, European Space Agency:  Science with JWST and the European NIRSpec instrument

12:00     Ralf Maurer, NIRSpec project manager, Astrium:

Live from the cleanroom: Astrium’s role in NIRSpec

12:15     Photo opportunity

12:20     Questions & answers and opportunity for individual interviews

12:45     Buffet lunch and optional photo and filming session of NIRSpec in cleanroom

14:00     End

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. It is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Den-mark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with eight other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working actively with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

For further information:

ESA Media Relations Office, Communication Department


Tel: + 33 1 5369 7299