JUICE mission is ready to launch

Arianespace and ESA specialists have completed the preparation of the Ariane 5 rocket. On April 13, it will send the JUICE spacecraft into space, which will study the icy moons of Jupiter. 

JUICE launch time

The JUICE mission has been developed by ESA since the beginning of the last decade. Its target will be Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. These are the three largest icy moons of Jupiter. It is believed that huge oceans hide under their icy surfaces. And where there is water, there, as you know, can be life. JUICE must study these worlds and assess their viability.

JUICE is scheduled to launch on April 13. The live broadcast will begin at 02:45 p.m. GMT+3 on ESA Web TV. The launch itself will take place at 03:15 p.m.

If everything goes well, at 03:42 p.m. JUICE will separate from the upper stage of Ariane 5. At 03:51 p.m. ESA will receive the first telemetry from it, and at 04:55 p.m. the deployment of the gigantic solar panels of the spacecraft, which has a total area of 90 m2, will take place.

JUICE’s journey to Jupiter will take eight years. To gain the necessary speed, the probe will perform four gravitational maneuvers (three in the vicinity of Earth and one near Venus). In addition, it will fly past the asteroid Rosa. JUICE will reach its goal in the summer of 2031.

Last flight of Ariane 5

The upcoming launch is significant not only for the cargo being launched into space, but also for the fact that this is the last mission in the history of the famous Ariane 5 rocket. It has been operated by ESA since 1996. In total, the rocket flew into space 115 times. 110 missions were successful, two were classified as partially unsuccessful, and three more flights ended in accidents.

The Ariane 5 rocket with the JUICE probe installed on it. Source: ESA — M. Pédoussaut

ESA plans to replace Ariane 5 with a new Ariane 6 rocket. Initially, it was planned to put it into operation in 2020. However, due to various problems, this date has already been shifted several times. At the moment, the first flight of the Ariane 6 is scheduled for the end of 2023.

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