News release: 2011-245 Aug. 5, 2011
NASA's Juno Spacecraft Launches to Jupiter
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PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station in Florida at 9:25 a.m. PDT (12:25 p.m. EDT) Friday to begin a five-year
journey to Jupiter.
Juno's detailed study of the largest planet in our solar system will help reveal Jupiter's origin and
evolution. As the archetype of giant gas planets, Jupiter can help scientists understand the origin
of our solar system and learn more about planetary systems around other stars.
"Today, with the launch of the Juno spacecraft, NASA began a journey to yet another new
frontier," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "The future of exploration includes cutting-
edge science like this to help us better understand our solar system and an ever-increasing array
of challenging destinations."
After Juno's launch aboard an Atlas V rocket, mission controllers now await telemetry from the
spacecraft indicating it has achieved its proper orientation, and that its massive solar arrays, the
biggest on any NASA deep-space probe, have deployed and are generating power.
"We are on our way, and early indications show we are on our planned trajectory," said Jan
Chodas, Juno project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We will
know more about Juno's status in a couple hours after its radios are energized and the signal is
acquired by the Deep Space Network antennas at Canberra."
Juno will cover the distance from Earth to the moon (about 250,000 miles or 402,336 kilometers)
in less than one day's time. It will take another five years and 1,740 million miles (2,800 million
kilometers) to complete the journey to Jupiter. The spacecraft will orbit the planet's poles 33
times and use its collection of eight science instruments to probe beneath the gas giant's
obscuring cloud cover to learn more about its origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere,
and look for a potential solid planetary core.
With four large moons and many smaller moons, Jupiter forms its own miniature solar system.
Its composition resembles that of a star, and if it had been about 80 times more massive, the
planet could have become a star instead.
"Jupiter is the Rosetta Stone of our solar system," said Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator
from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "It is by far the oldest planet, contains
more material than all the other planets, asteroids and comets combined, and carries deep inside
it the story of not only the solar system but of us. Juno is going there as our emissary -- to
interpret what Jupiter has to say."
Juno's name comes from Greek and Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds
around himself to hide his mischief, and his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the
clouds and reveal Jupiter's true nature.
The NASA Deep Space Network -- or DSN -- is an international network of antennas that
supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the
exploration of the solar system and the universe. The network also supports selected Earth-
JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest
Research Institute in San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program
managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space
Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Launch management for the mission is the responsibility
of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. JPL is a division
of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
For more information about Juno, visit http://www.nasa.gov/juno and
DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
George Diller 321-867-2468
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
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