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JUICE [Airbus DS]

JUICE (Jupiter Icy moons Explorer), is a planned Jupiter probe, which was selected by ESA as the first Large-class mission of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme. It is to investigate Jupiter and its large icy moons Callisto, Ganymede and Europa. JUICE will enter an Orbit arounf Ganymede during its mission.

JUICE was formerly known as the JGO (Jupiter Ganymede Orbiter), the ESA element of the joint NASA/ESA EJSM (Europa Jupiter System Mission). After the cancellation of the NASA sister mission JEO, it was renamed to JUICE.

In July 2015 Airbus Defence and Space was selected as the prime contractor. The € 320 million contract was signed in December 2015.

It will be launched in 2022 from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on an Ariane-5ECA, arriving at Jupiter in 2030 to spend at least three years making detailed observations.

Jupiter’s diverse Galilean moons – volcanic Io, icy Europa and rock-ice Ganymede and Callisto – make the jovian system a miniature Solar System in its own right.

With Europa, Ganymede and Callisto all thought to host internal oceans, the mission will study the moons as potential habitats for life, addressing two key themes of Cosmic Vision: what are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life, and how does the Solar System work?

JUICE will continuously observe Jupiter’s atmosphere and magnetosphere, and the interaction of the Galilean moons with the gas giant planet.

It will visit Callisto, the most heavily cratered object in the Solar System, and will twice fly by Europa. JUICE will make the first measurements of the thickness of Europa’s icy crust and will identify candidate sites for future in situ exploration.

The spacecraft will finally enter orbit around Ganymede in 2032, where it will study the icy surface and internal structure of the moon, including its subsurface ocean.

Ganymede is the only moon in the Solar System known to generate its own magnetic field, and JUICE will observe the unique magnetic and plasma interactions with Jupiter’s magnetosphere in detail.

The main spacecraft design drivers are related to the large distance to the Sun, the use of solar power generation, and Jupiter's harsh radiation environment.

The orbit insertions at Jupiter and Ganymede and the large number of flyby manoeuvres (more than 25 gravity assists and flybys) requires the spacecraft to carry about 3000 kg of chemical propellant.

The large distance to Earth results in a signal round trip time of up to 1h 46 m, requiring careful pre-planning and autonomous execution of operations by the spacecraft. Additionally, the spacecraft will be equipped with a high gain antenna ~3 m in diameter to provide at least 1.4 Gb daily downlink.

Payload accommodation would take into account the need for radiation shielding and satisfy requirements from individual instruments. The JUICE mission focuses on Ganymede and Callisto, along with two Europa flybys, and therefore stays outside of Jupiter's main radiation belts for most of the mission operations. This means that shielding can be used as the primary protection for the onboard electronics.

The use of solar array power generation in combination with the large distance from the Sun, with a worst-case solar constant of 46 Wm-2, results in large area solar arrays, of typically about 60 – 75 m2. Since the radiation environment is dominated by electrons, solar arrays can be used to provide electrical power, with GaAs solar cells optimized for 'Low-Intensity/Low-Temperature' conditions.

Following instruments are baselined for the JUICE mission:

  • Laser Altimeter: Tidal deformation of Ganymede; Morphology of moons surface features.
  • Radio Science Experiment: Interior state of Ganymede, presence of a deep ocean and other gravity anomalies. Ganymede and Callisto surface properties. Atmospheric science at Jupiter, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, and Jupiter rings.
  • The Radar for Icy Moon Exploration (RIME) experiment, an ice penetrating radar, which is a key instrument for achieving groundbreaking science on the geology, is led by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California, is providing key subsystems to the instrument, which is designed to penetrate the surface of Jupiter's icy moons to learn more about their subsurface structure. The instrument will focus on Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa, to determine the formation mechanisms and interior processes that occur to produce bodies of subsurface water. On Europa, the instrument also will search for thin areas of ice and locations with the most geological activity, such as plumes.
  • Visible-IR Hyperspectral Imaging Spectrometer: Composition of non water-ice components on Ganymede, Europa and Callisto; State & crystallinity of water ice. On Jupiter: tracking of tropospheric cloud features, characterisation of minor species, aerosol properties, hot spots and aurorae.
  • Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) to observe the dynamics and atmospheric chemistry of the Jovian system, including its icy satellites and volcanic moon Io. With the planet Jupiter itself, the instrument team hopes to learn more about the vertical structure of its stratosphere and determine the relationship between changing magnetospheric conditions to observed auroral structures. The instrument is a NASA contribution provided by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)
  • Narrow Angle Camera: Local-scale geologic processes on Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto; Io Torus imaging, Jupiter cloud dynamics & structure
  • Wide Angle Camera: Global morphology of the Ganymede surface. Global to regional scale morphology of the Callisto and Europa surface
  • Magnetometer: Ganymede’s intrinsic magnetic field and its interaction with the Jovian field. Induced magnetic field as evidence for subsurface ocean on Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.
  • The Particle Environment Package (PEP) is a suite of six sensors led by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), capable of providing a 3-D map of the plasma system that surrounds Jupiter. One of the six sensors, known as PEP-Hi, is provided by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and is comprised of two separate components known as JoEE and JENI. While JoEE is focused primarily on studying the magnetosphere of Ganymede, JENI observations will reveal the structure and dynamics of the donut-shaped cloud of gas and plasma that surrounds Europa.
  • Submillimetre Wave Instrument: Dynamics of Jupiter’s stratosphere; Vertical profiles of wind speed and temperature; Composition and structure of exospheres of Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.
  • Radio and Plasma Wave Instrument: Ganymede: Exosphere and magnetosphere; Callisto & Europa: Induced magnetic field and plasma environment; Jovian magnetosphere and satellite interactions
Nation: Europe
Type / Application: Jupiter / Ganymede orbiter
Operator: ESA
Contractors: Airbus Defence and Space
Equipment: see above
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Mass: up to 5300 kg
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
JUICE (ex JGO) - 2022 Ko ELA-3 Ariane-5ECA
Further ESA Cosmic Vision missions: L class:
  • JUICE (L1)
  • Athena (L2)
  • Gravitational wave observatory (L3)
M class: S class: