Ukrainian cargo plane delivers JUICE probe to Kourou Cosmodrome

On February 8, an AN-124 aircraft belonging to the Ukrainian airline Antonov Airlines landed at the airport of Cayenne (French Guiana). It delivered a container containing the JUICE spacecraft.

Unloading of a container with a JUICE probe from the Ukrainian AN-124. Source: ESA

In the coming days, the container with JUICE will be transported to the Kourou cosmodrome. After unloading, the spacecraft will undergo a series of final tests. Next, it will be refueled and installed on an Ariane 5 rocket. The ballistic window for launching the spacecraft will be open from April 14 to April 30, 2023. JUICE will be the last spacecraft launched using the Ariane 5 rocket.

Technical device and objectives of the JUICE mission

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 should study these worlds and assess their potential liveability.

The appearance of the JUICE probe. Source: ESA

To perform the assigned tasks, the spacecraft is equipped with a set of ten scientific instruments. It will receive energy from two cruciform solar panels, which total surface area is about 90 m². They will provide the probe with the necessary energy to work in the vicinity of Jupiter.

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, on the way to the goal, it will perform a close flyby of the asteroid Rosa.

JUICE will reach Jupiter in the summer of 2031. In the future, it will perform 35 close flights of Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. The information collected during these visits will allow collecting a large array of data about these bodies and determining the basic characteristics of their oceans. 

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 be hit on its icy surface.

According to

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