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HomeTech/ScienceNASA prepares Juno Spacecraft for operations around Jupiter

NASA prepares Juno Spacecraft for operations around Jupiter

Written Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The engineers and scientists working on NASA’s Juno mission have been busying themselves, getting their newly arrived Jupiter orbiter ready for operations around the largest planetary inhabitant in the solar system.

Juno successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35-minute engine burn on Monday, July 4th. Confirmation that the burn had completed was received on Earth at 8:53pm. PDT (11:53pm EDT) that evening.

Animation of Juno 14-day Orbits Starting in Late 2016. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Animation of Juno 14-day Orbits Starting in Late 2016. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

As planned, the spacecraft returned to high-rate communications on July 5th and powered up five of its science instruments on July 6th. Per the mission plan, the remaining science instruments will be powered up before the end of the month.

Juno’s science instruments had been turned off in the days leading up to Jupiter orbit insertion.

The Juno team has scheduled a short trajectory correction maneuver on July 13th to refine the orbit around Jupiter.

“Prior to launch five years ago we planned a date and time for the Jupiter orbit insertion burn and the team nailed it,” said Rick Nybakken, project manager for Juno from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “We are in our planned 53.4 day orbit. Now we are focusing on preparing for our fourth and final main engine burn, which will put us in our 14-day science orbit on October 19th.”

The next time Juno’s orbit carries it close by the planet will be on August 27th. The flyby is expected to provide some preliminary science data.

“We had to turn all our beautiful instruments off to help ensure a successful Jupiter orbit insertion on July 4th,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “But next time around we will have our eyes and ears open. You can expect us to release some information about our findings around September 1st.”

The Juno spacecraft launched on August 5th, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

More information on the Juno mission is available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/juno

The public can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:

http://www.facebook.com/NASAJuno

http://www.twitter.com/NASAJuno

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