ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission, Juice, is planned for launch at 8:15 a.m. EDT (13:15 BST/14:15 CEST) on April 13 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Here’s how to follow the key milestones online.
ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) will launch in April 2023 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on an Ariane 5 rocket. Just 28 minutes after liftoff, the Ariane 5 will release Juice into space. But the spacecraft will not be left to fend for itself – five minutes later ESA mission controllers will start receiving signals via ground stations and assume control of the spacecraft. Credit: ESA / ATG medialab
(All time in EDT.)
Watch live from 7:45 a.m. on April 13.
7:45–10:05 a.m. Launch program
10:30–11:15 a.m. Post-launch press briefing
On launch day the following key milestones will be included in the launch program and covered by ESA social media channels.
8:15 a.m. Juice launch on Ariane 5
8:42 a.m. Separation of Juice from Ariane 5 upper stage
8:51 a.m. Earliest expected time to acquire Juice’s signal
9:55 a.m. Solar array deployment expected to be completed
Times are specific to launch taking place on April 13 and may vary by a few minutes.
Juice is equipped with two monitoring cameras that will capture parts of the solar array deployment following launch, and a few days later the deployment of the 16 m-long radar antenna. If suitable images are acquired, they will be made available for publication at the earliest possibility.
Scientists and engineers put their heads together to equip Juice with a unique set of solar panels, antennas, probes and booms that will help the spacecraft overcome challenges that no other European mission has faced before. To keep the high-tech equipment safe during the launch, everything will be tucked away, ready to be deployed only once Juice has separated from its Ariane 5 host rocket in space. Credit: ESA / ATG medialab
Beyond launch day
Over the two and a half weeks following launch, Juice will deploy its various antennas and instrument booms, which will be reported on Twitter by @ESA_JUICE and @esaoperations in the first instance. An intense three-month commissioning of Juice’s scientific instruments will also follow.
The first of four gravity-assist flybys in the inner Solar System will take place in August 2024 with a lunar-Earth gravity-assist – a flyby of the Moon followed 1.5 days later by one of Earth.
A grand odyssey of exploration is about to begin. Humankind’s next bold mission to the outer Solar System, ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, is poised to explore the giant planet Jupiter and its largest moons. These intriguing worlds have piqued our curiosity ever since Galileo first raised his telescope to the planet and discovered its four largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, three of which are thought to harbor underground oceans. Credit: Produced by ESA/ATG medialab
ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, ‘Juice’, is humankind’s next bold mission to the outer Solar System. It will make detailed observations of gas giant Jupiter and its three large ocean-bearing moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. This ambitious mission will characterize these moons with a powerful suite of remote sensing, geophysical, and in situ instruments to discover more about these compelling destinations as potential habitats for past or present life. Juice will monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation, and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the Universe.
Juice launches on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou in April 2023. It has an eight-year cruise with flybys of Earth and Venus to slingshot it to Jupiter. It will make 35 flybys of the three large moons while orbiting Jupiter, before changing orbits to Ganymede.