ESA completed the assembly of the JUICE probe

ESA engineers have completed the assembly of the JUICE probe (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer). In the near future, it will be transported to the Airbus Defense & Space test center in Toulouse, where it will undergo a series of final tests that will certify its ability to withstand the conditions of space flight.

Main tasks and technical device of JUICE

The main objective of the JUICE mission is the three largest icy moons of Jupiter — Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. According to scientists, oceans of liquid water are hiding under their surface. JUICE will have to study these worlds and assess their potential liveability.

The mass of JUICE (in the refueled state) is 4800. It will receive energy from solar panels with a total area of almost 100 m2. To perform scientific tasks, the probe is a set of 11 scientific instruments created by various European scientific institutions with the support of NASA. Among them are high-resolution cameras, spectrometers, magnetometer, radar, laser altimeter, as well as a device for measuring the characteristics of charged particles and gravitational fields.

Preparing to launch JUICE

Currently, JUICE is prepared for shipment to the Airbus Defense & Space test center in Toulouse. There the probe will be transferred to the flight configuration. Next, the final series of tests will take place, including checking the electromagnetic compatibility of on-board systems, as well as tests for the deployment of various components. After that, the probe will be transported to the Kourou cosmodrome in French Guiana, where it will be prepared for launch.

JUICE probe. Source: ESA/Lightcurve Films

The launch of JUICE is scheduled for April 2023. Since the power of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle is not enough to send the probe directly to Jupiter, it will need to perform a number of gravitational maneuvers in the vicinity of Venus, Earth and the Moon to accelerate. 

JUICE will reach the Jupiter system in July 2031. In total, the probe will have to perform two close flights of Europa, twelve flights of Callisto and twelve flights of Ganymede. In December 2034, JUICE will enter a permanent 500-kilometer orbit around Ganymede. The flight program provides for the study of the Moon until the end of 2035, after which JUICE will fall on its icy surface.

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time