JWST will be used to help understand the shape and chemical composition of the universe, and the evolution of galaxies, stars and planets. With a 6.5 meter primary mirror, the Observatory will observe red shifted light from the early history of the universe, and will see objects 400 times fainter than those seen from large ground-based telescopes or the current generation of space-based infrared telescopes. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) manages JWST with contributions from a number of academic, government, and industrial partners. The contract to build the space-based Observatory for JWST was awarded to the Northrop Grumman Space Technology (NGST)/Ball/Kodak/ATK team.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.