NASA Triple Header: Juno, Jupiter and the 4th of July

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has entered Jupiter’s magnetic field on its way to a July 4th orbital insertion around the solar system’s largest planet. The Juno spacecraft, which launched on August 5th, 2011 will spend 20 months looking deep into the gas giant’s atmosphere, hopefully yielding a treasure trove of information regarding its origins, and inner makeup as it sails as close as 3,100 miles over its clouds.

Coverage of the orbit insertion maneuver will begin on the evening of July 4th at 10:30 PM EDT. During the event, Juno will ignite its main engine for a 35 minute burn designed to reduce the spacecraft’s velocity by 1,212 mph, allowing it to be captured into a planet mapping polar orbit.

Viewers can watch on NASA TV, or on-line at,

A couple of mission “firsts” courtesy of NASA

• First space mission to operate a solar-powered spacecraft at Jupiter

• Farthest solar powered spacecraft from Earth • First space mission to orbit an outer-planet from pole to pole

• First space mission to fly as close as 2,600 miles to Jupiter’s cloud tops

• First mission to be designed to operate in the heart of Jupiter’s radiation belts

• First mission to carry a titanium radiation vault to protect the spacecraft’s most sensitive instruments from a planet’s intense belts of radiation

• First spacecraft to fly 3D-printed titanium parts (Waveguide brackets)

• Will be the fastest spacecraft to enter orbit around a planet, at 130,000 mph (129,518 mph/57.9 km/s) relative to Earth

• Will take the highest-resolution images of Jupiter in history



Posted in: Outer Planets

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