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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 ESAís 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 Ä 320 million contract was signed in December 2015.

It will be launched in April 2023 from Europeís spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on the second to last Ariane-5ECA+, arriving at Jupiter in July 2031 to spend at least three years making detailed observations. ESA also evaluated a potential shift to an Ariane-64 launch vehicle.

Following the launch, multiple gravity assists are planned to put JUICE on a trajectory towards Jupiter: a flyby of the Earth-Moon system in August 2024, Venus in August 2025, a second flyby of Earth in September 2026, and a final third flyby of Earth in January 2029. It will pass twice through the asteroid belt. A flyby of the asteroid 223 Rosa has been proposed for October 2029.

Jupiterís diverse Galilean moons Ė volcanic Io, icy Europa and rock-ice Ganymede and Callisto Ė 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 Jupiterís 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 Europaís 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 Jupiterís 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 Ė 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 have been selected for the JUICE mission:

  • 3GM, or the Gravity & Geophysics of Jupiter and Galilean Moons, is a radio package comprising the KaT (Ka transponder), USO (ultrastable oscillator) and HAA (High Accuracy Accelerometer). The experiment will study the gravity field at Ganymede, the extent of the internal oceans on the icy moons, and the structure of the neutral atmosphere and ionosphere of Jupiter and its moons.
  • Gala, the GAnymede Laser Altimeter will study the tidal deformation of Ganymede and the topography of the surfaces of the icy moons
  • JANUS, an optical camera system, will study global, regional and local features and processes on the moon, as well as map the clouds of Jupiter. It will have a resolution up to 2.4 m on Ganymede and about 10 km at Jupiter.
  • J-MAG is the Juice magnetometer; it is equipped with sensors to characterise the Jovian magnetic field and its interaction with that of Ganymede, and to study the subsurface oceans of the icy moons.
  • MAJIS is the Moons and Jupiter Imaging Spectrometer. It will observe cloud features and atmospheric constituents on Jupiter, and will characterise ices and minerals on the icy moon surfaces.
  • PEP is the Particle Environment Package. It comprises a package of sensors to characterise the plasma environment of the Jupiter system.
  • RIME, the Radar for Icy Moons Exploration, is an ice-penetrating radar to study the subsurface structure of the icy moons down to a depth of around nine kilometres.
  • RPWI, the Radio and Plasma Wave Investigation, will characterise the radio emission and plasma environment of Jupiter and its icy moons using a suite of sensors and probes.
  • SWI, the Sub-millimeter Wave Instrument, will investigate the temperature structure, composition and dynamics of Jupiterís atmosphere, and the exospheres and surfaces of the icy moons.
  • UVS is a UV imaging spectrograph to characterise the composition and dynamics of the exospheres of the icy moons, to study the Jovian aurorae, and to investigate the composition and structure of the planetís upper atmosphere.

The mission will also carry out a Planetary Radio Interferometer & Doppler Experiment (PRIDE), which will use the standard telecommunication system of the spacecraft, together with radio telescopes on Earth to perform precise measurements of the spacecraft position and velocity to investigate the gravity fields of Jupiter and the icy moons.

JUICE is planned to be launched in August 2023 on the very last Ariane-5ECA+ rocket.

Nation: Europe
Type / Application: Jupiter / Ganymede orbiter
Operator: ESA
Contractors: Airbus Defence and Space
Equipment: see above
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 12 years
Mass: 5963 kg
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
JUICE (ex JGO) 2023-053A 14.04.2023 Ko ELA-3 Ariane-5ECA+

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