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JUICE fully integrated

on 26 May 2022

ESA’s Juice mission has entered its final phase of development, with the spacecraft moving to an Airbus Defence and Space facility in Toulouse, France, for the next round of testing.

The spacecraft has been fully integrated, and these tests will be done in full flight configuration, as Juice is scheduled for launch from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in April 2023.

JUICE, or the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer, is ESA's future mission to explore Jupiter, the Solar System's largest planet and its ocean-bearing moons: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.

Planned for launch in June 2022, JUICE will embark on a seven year cruise that will make use of several flybys – of Earth, Venus, Earth, Mars, and again Earth – before leaving the inner Solar System for Jupiter.

JUICE, in which Romania also participates, will be equipped with 10 state-of-the-art instruments – cameras, an ice-penetrating radar, an altimeter or sensors that monitor the magnetic field and the charged particles in the Jovian system. 

To meet these goals, the spacecraft’s design had to follow strict requirements.

One of these requirements is related to the extremely harsh radiation that the spacecraft has to face during its time at Jupiter. Components and materials have to be carefully tested and selected, and radiation shielding needs to be developed. Several of the JUICE mission components were tested against radiation in Romania.

More details about JUICE mission here.

Image credit: spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Jupiter: NASA/ESA/J. Nichols (University of Leicester); Ganymede: NASA/JPL; Io: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; Callisto and Europa: NASA/JPL/DLR