Launch of the JUICE probe is a success

On April 14, JUICE, the most ambitious interplanetary mission in the history of the European Space Agency (ESA), was launched from the Kourou Cosmodrome. It ended with success. The spacecraft has already separated from the upper stage of the carrier and contacted the MCC. In the near future, it will have to deploy solar panels, as well as antennas and a magnetometer rod.

Separation of the JUICE spacecraft from the Ariane 5 rocket in the artist’s image. Source: ESA

We have already talked in great detail about the technical mechanism of JUICE and its tasks. Recall the main thing. The main goals of JUICE will be three satellites of Jupiter — Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. It is believed that huge oceans hide under their icy surfaces. Scientists admit that they have conditions conducive to the formation and maintenance of life.

Now JUICE has a long eight-year journey ahead of it. To gain the necessary speed to reach Jupiter speed, the probe will perform four gravitational maneuvers to accelerate. The first one will take place in August 2024, when JUICE will fly over the Moon and the Earth. A year later, the spacecraft will visit the vicinity of Venus. In September 2026, JUICE will approach the Earth for the second time, then pass through the asteroid belt, and then return to our planet again. The final gravity maneuver near the Earth will take place in January 2029. It will finally allow the spacecraft to set a course for Jupiter. The spacecraft will reach the planet in the summer of 2031.

It is also worth saying that the launch of JUICE is the last mission for the Ariane 5 rocket. Over 27 years of operation, it has flown into space 116 times. 111 launches were successful, two were classified as partial failures, and three more ended in accidents.

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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