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Arianespace to launch Juice, Europe's first mission to Jupiter, with Arianne 5

  • On April 13, Arianespace will launch the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) space probe for the European Space Agency (ESA) on board its first Ariane 5 mission of the year.
  • Flight VA260 will be Europe’s first mission to the Jovian system. Its passenger, JUICE, will spend at least three years making detailed observations of Jupiter’s icy moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
  • Built by Airbus Defence and Space, JUICE will enter in orbit around the giant planet in 2031 after an 8-year cruise which includes gravitational assists from Earth and Venus.


On April 13, 2023 at 09:15 a.m. local time (12:15 p.m. UTC), Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission will lift off from Europe’s Spaceport, French Guiana, with the JUICE space probe. The mission’s duration will be a little less than 28 minutes.

For this mission, the Ariane 5 launcher will require over 6 metric tons weight performance, and will aim an Earth escape trajectory. After the separation at an altitude of 1,538 km, JUICE spacecraft will ultimately reach an infinite velocity of up to 2.5 kilometers per second once out of the Earth gravitational field.

The spacecraft, manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space for the European Space Agency (ESA), will be Europe’s first mission to Jupiter. It will spend at least three years making detailed observations of its icy moons: Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. JUICE will study the moons as potential habitats for life, addressing two key questions: what are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life, and how does the Solar System work?

JUICE will carry the most powerful scientific payload ever flown to the outer Solar System. It consists of 10 state-of-the-art instruments plus one science experiment that uses the spacecraft telecommunication system with ground-based radio telescopes. After an 8-year cruise toward Jupiter, which includes gravitational assists from Earth and Venus, the spacecraft will enter orbit around the giant planet in 2031. The space probe will make detailed observations of the giant gas planet and its three large ocean-bearing moons: Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. JUICE will characterize these moons as both planetary objects and possible habitats, explore Jupiter’s complex environment in depth, and study the wider Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giants across the Universe.

JUICE, is the first ‘large-class’ mission of the Cosmic Vision science program. This current planning cycle for ESA’s space science missions includes a series of three exoplanets missions that will keep Europe at the forefront of this growing field, each tackling a unique aspect of exoplanet science.

Since its creation, Arianespace has played a major role in supporting scientific efforts to study our Universe. By doing so, the European launch service provider has already launched into orbit 30 state-of-the-art spacecraft that have helped unlock Space’s mysteries, including emblematic missions such as: BepiColombo, Europe's first mission to Mercury which is the least explored planet in the inner Solar System; Herschel, that studied the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies; Planck, Europe's first mission to study the cosmic microwave background, the relic radiation from the Big Bang; Gaia, a global space astrometry mission building the largest, most precise, three-dimensional map of our Galaxy by surveying nearly two billion objects; Smart-1, ESA’s first Moon mission and ESA’s first mission to use ion propulsion for interplanetary navigation; Rosetta that rendezvoused with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and studied the nucleus of the comet and its environment; and the James Webb Space Telescope, the state-of-the art space telescope exploring the origins of the Universe.


The launch at a glance:

  • 346th launch for the Arianespace launcher family (309th launch from the Guiana Space Center).
  • VA260 will be the 30th scientific mission to be launched by Arianespace.
  • 116th launch of Ariane 5 overall.
  • JUICE will be the 10th satellite launched by Arianespace on a liberation’s orbit


SOURCE : Arianespace 


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