NASA's Juno Spacecraft Launches to Jupiter

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Aug. 5, 2011

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Dwayne Brown 
Headquarters, Washington

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

RELEASE: 11-257


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft lifted 
off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 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 

"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 (JPL) 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 

Juno will cover the distance from Earth to the moon (about 250,000 
miles or 402,236 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 a star's, 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-orbiting missions.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., 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 

For more information about Juno, visit:


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