The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a large aperture, space telescope designed to provide imaging and
spectroscopy over the near and mid-infrared from 1.0 μm to 28 μm. JWST is a passively cooled infrared telescope,
employing a five layer sunshield to achieve an operating temperature of ~40 K. JWST will be launched to an orbit at L2
aboard an Ariane 5 launcher in 2013. The Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is the lead center for the JWST program
and manages the project for NASA. The prime contractor for JWST is Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGST).
JWST is an international partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
ESA will contribute the Ariane 5 launch, and a multi-object infrared spectrograph. CSA will contribute the Fine
Guidance Sensor (FGS), which includes the Tunable Filter Imager (TFI). A European consortium, in collaboration with
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), builds the mid-infrared imager (MIRI). In this paper we present an overview of the
JWST science program, and discuss recent progress in the development of the observatory. In this paper we will discuss
the scientific motivations for JWST, and discuss recent progress in the construction of the observatory, focusing on the
telescope and its optics, which have recently completed polishing.