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News Release
James Webb Space Telescope Launch on 12-25-2021
James Webb Space Telescope Launch on 12-25-2021
First Reveal of NASA's James Webb Telescope Images Available through Oregon Charter Academy (Photo) - 06/28/22

WILSONVILLE, Ore.Oregon Charter Academy (ORCA) will be the only school in Oregon to join hundreds of sites across the country to celebrate the release of the first science images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope — the largest and most complex space science telescope ever built — on Tuesday, July 12, from 3 to 5 p.m. The public is invited to join this historic event for free at 30485 SW Boones Ferry Rd., #202, in Wilsonville (open to the first 100 registrants) or virtually (open to the first 1,000 registrants). Register here

In a continuation of ORCA’s ongoing efforts to provide its students with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) enrichment, the University of Oregon’s physics department will make an appearance at the event, armed with special-lensed telescopes to assist attendees while they view the sun (weather permitting). 


“Igniting interest in STEM is imperative to ORCA,” said Dan Vasen, principal of ORCA STEM programs and champion of the school’s NASA club. “Providing special opportunities through events like these can stimulate the type of learning that creates passion, while at the same time helping students process classroom topics and their relevance to real world applications.” 


ORCA’s NASA club has been bringing monthly live streams from various NASA space centers to ORCA students for three years. The club also provides virtual reality apps, programs that connect with coding space rovers, and much more. In February, over 90 ORCA students and staff watched the James Webb Telescope reach its final destination, and now students and other science enthusiasts can celebrate the results. 

“The NASA club is just one of the many STEM programs at ORCA,” said Vasen. “In an effort to take remote learning to the next level, we’ll be partnering with more space centers next year to increase the number of virtual events and the scope of educational enrichment materials provided to ORCA students.”  


ORCA is one of only seven organizations throughout Oregon selected to participate in this historic viewing. Additional organizations include: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Evergreen Air and Science Museum, Airway Science for Kids and ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum. Each organization will host viewing events on varying days and times.


The James Webb Space Telescope is the largest and most complex space science telescope ever built — the premier observatory of the next decade. This international mission, led by NASA in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, launched Dec. 25, 2021. After unfolding in space into its final form, Webb successfully arrived at its destination nearly 1 million miles from Earth and began preparing for science operations. The observatory, which is designed to see the universe in the infrared, will push the field of astronomy into a new era. Webb will be able to study light from distant parts of the universe for the very first time and give us insight into how our universe formed. 

It will also peer into dusty stellar nurseries to explore distant worlds orbiting other stars, as well as observe objects in our own solar system. Webb will extend the scientific discoveries of other NASA missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

To learn more about the Webb telescope, visit webb.nasa.gov and webbtelescope.org or view the media kit


The Oregon Charter Academy (ORCA), is a tuition-free online public charter school that has been serving K - 12 students successfully for 17 years. Combining twenty-first century learning with standards-based curriculum, ORCA is the only school in Ore., Wash., and Calif. to be recognized as a 2021 Cognia School of Distinction; and placed as Best Charter School and Best Overall Leadership within the Statesman Journal awards. ORCA provides students with approximately 40 student clubs, over 200 field trips each year, career and technical education programs, college credit options, teen parent programs, AVID implementation, and monthly learning sessions with NASA.

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