NASA's spacecraft t-minus one month to Jupiter period

Jul 06, 2011 By DC Agle
Workers guide Juno's Centaur upper stage onto the mission's waiting Atlas V rocket. Credit: NASA/KSC

NASA's Juno spacecraft is 30 days before its first launch window opens.

"The is the length of time allotted every day for an attempt to launch the spacecraft," said Jan Chodas, Juno project manager from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "The launch period is the period of time in days when everything is in the right place to get your mission off to the right start."

For a mission like Juno, getting everything in the right place includes considering the size of the rocket and spacecraft, where our home planet -- and in particular Juno's -- is pointed at any moment, and its location in space relative to other like Juno's final target, Jupiter.

"One month from today, our first launch window opens at 11:34 a.m. EDT (8:34 a.m. PDT) and lasts 69 minutes," said Chodas. "Our primary launch period is 22 days long, and so if weather or other issues come up on Aug. 5, we have 21 more days to get Juno flying. Once we get Juno into space, it's a five-year cruise to Jupiter."

Juno is scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from pad 41-C at the , Fla. The solar-powered spacecraft will orbit Jupiter's poles 33 times to find out more about the gas giant's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere and investigate the existence of a solid planetary core.

Explore further: Computer model shows moon's core surrounded by liquid and it's caused by Earth's gravity

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Tuxford
3 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2011
And Juno data analysis will have to account for the Pioneer effect, in order to accurately map Jupiter's internal structure, according to the mission's principal scientist last year.
scidog
5 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2011
note the photo..in the end it's all about a few guys with no hard hats and their hands on their hips watching some other guys push and shove a million bucks worth of space hardware into place..i love it..
barakn
5 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2011
Luckily, since the Pioneer effect is due to thermal radiation, it should be easy to model and correct for.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2011
Only partly due to thermal. Half the answer is not the whole answer. Anyway, JPL reports other Earth flyby's exhibit the same effect. What say you about them?