The European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer or JUICE is the next venture of humanity into the outer Solar System. It will be conducted thorough examinations of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, and its three moons with oceans including Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. The spacecraft has just completed its final tests before departing Toulouse, France, for Europe’s Spaceport to count down to on April 2023 launch.
European Space Mission JUICE to be Launched in April 2023- Key Points
- In December, the spacecraft underwent a thermal vacuum test to ensure it could withstand the extreme temperatures of space. A System Validation Test was conducted, connecting the spacecraft in Toulouse to mission control at ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany, to simulate the first activities after launch.
- On 18 January, the Qualification and Acceptance Review was concluded, confirming the spacecraft was ready to go ahead with launch preparations at the Spaceport.
- A plaque was affixed to the spacecraft in honor of Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer who was the first to observe Jupiter and its four largest moons with a telescope in January 1610, as the final step in the preparations.
- The plaque was unveiled at Airbus Toulouse on 20 January and it displays images of Galileo Galilei’s initial observations of Jupiter and its moons from a copy of the Sidereus Nuncius hosted in the library of the Astronomical and Copernican Museum.
- The JUICE will be launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou on an Ariane 5 rocket in April 2023.
- It will then embark on an eight-year journey, which includes flybys of Earth and Venus to gain momentum for its trip to Jupiter. Once it reaches the gas giant, it will make 35 flybys of its three largest moons before shifting its orbit to Ganymede.