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The Juice spacecraft prepares for its mission to Jupiter

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CAIRO – Samia Sayed – The European Space Agency (ESA) Juice spacecraft is preparing for its mission to Jupiter. The mission of the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission aims to get an up-close look at Jupiter’s moons that could host life.

The spacecraft has recently reached a milestone in full integration. With all spacecraft equipment assembled and integrated, the spacecraft is fully completed for the first time and ready for testing. It has been flown to Airbus’ facility in Toulouse, France, for final testing before launch in April 2023.

“This achievement is very important because here we have the spacecraft: it is fully integrated and ready,” Manuela Baroni, Juice AIT & Launcher Interface Engineer at ESA, explained in an interview. So the spacecraft is ready for the test campaign, to finally verify that everything is working as expected,” Digitartlends quotes.

The Juice mission will visit Jupiter as well as three of the planet’s moons Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. These icy moons are prime targets in the search for habitable locations in the Solar System beyond Earth, where they are believed to host the oceans beneath their surfaces.

Juice will look at these moons in more detail to understand their chemical makeup and whether they might be environments that could host life.

“We have some requirements coming from Jupiter’s environment itself, such as temperature and radiation,” said Cyril Cavell, Juice project manager at Airbus Defense and Space. “Jupiter is a very aggressive radioactive environment that makes the entire design of the spacecraft more complex.”

Over the next nine months, the Juice spacecraft will undergo an extensive testing program to ensure it is ready for this environment. It will then be shipped to French Guiana for launch from the European spaceport at Kourou aboard an Ariane 5 rocket.

It will travel across the solar system for eight years, obtaining gravitational assistance all the way from Earth, Moon and Venus – including a first-of-its-kind maneuver around the Earth-Moon system.

It is scheduled to reach the Jupiter system in 2031 and perform a four-year mission there, flying all three moons and going into orbit around Ganymede before eventually impacting its surface.

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