Juno spacecraft resumes full flight operations on its way to Jupiter

Oct 12, 2013
Credit: Southwest Research Institute

(Phys.org) —NASA's Juno spacecraft, which is on its way to Jupiter, resumed full flight operations earlier today. The spacecraft had entered safe mode during its flyby of Earth last Wednesday. The safe mode did not impact the spacecraft's trajectory one smidgeon. This flyby provided the necessary gravity boost to accurately slingshot the probe towards Jupiter, where it will arrive on July 4, 2016.

The exited safe mode at 4:12 p.m. CDT (5:12 p.m. EDT) earlier today. The spacecraft is currently operating nominally and all systems are fully functional.

On Oct. 9, Juno past within 350 miles of the ocean just off the tip of South Africa at 3:21 p.m. EDT (12:21 PDT / 19:21 UTC). Soon after closest approach, a signal was received by the European Space Agency's 15-meter antenna just north of Perth, Australia, indicating the spacecraft initiated an automated fault-protection action called "safe mode."

Safe mode is a state that the spacecraft may enter if its on-board computer perceives conditions on the spacecraft are not as expected. Onboard Juno, the safe mode turned off instruments and a few non-critical spacecraft components, and pointed the spacecraft toward the Sun to ensure the solar arrays received power. The spacecraft acted as expected during the transition into and while in safe mode.

The Juno science team is continuing to analyze data acquired by the spacecraft's science instruments during the . Most data and images were downlinked prior to the event.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The Juno spacecraft is named for the mythological wife of the god Jupiter, who used her special powers to discover the secrets Jupiter was hiding behind cloud cover. Much like its namesake, the spacecraft will probe the mysteries beneath the planet's visible surface to understand its structure and history.

Explore further: Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

Related Stories

NASA troubleshooting Jupiter-bound spacecraft

Oct 10, 2013

NASA says it'll spend the next several days diagnosing a problem with the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft that appeared after it buzzed past Earth to propel itself toward the giant planet.

NASA's Juno spacecraft refines its path to Jupiter

Feb 03, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft successfully refined its flight path Wednesday with the mission's first trajectory correction maneuver. The maneuver took place on Feb. 1. It is the first ...

Jupiter-bound space probe captures Earth and Moon

Aug 31, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- On its way to the biggest planet in the solar system -- Jupiter, NASA's Juno spacecraft took time to capture its home planet and its natural satellite -- the moon.

Recommended for you

Bad weather delays Japan asteroid probe lift off

1 hour ago

Bad weather will delay the launch of a Japanese space probe on a six-year mission to mine a distant asteroid, just weeks after a European spacecraft's historic landing on a comet captivated the world.

Manchester scientists boost NASA's missions to Mars

10 hours ago

Computer Scientists from The University of Manchester have boosted NASA space missions by pioneering a global project to develop programs that efficiently test and control NASA spacecraft.

ESA image: The gold standard

11 hours ago

The Eutelsat-9B satellite with its EDRS-A payload is shown in the anechoic test chamber of Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, having completed its final antenna pattern tests today.

Frost-covered chaos on Mars

11 hours ago

Thanks to a break in the dusty 'weather' over the giant Hellas Basin at the beginning of this year, ESA's Mars Express was able to look down into the seven kilometre-deep basin and onto the frosty surface ...

Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

18 hours ago

This NAVCAM mosaic comprises four individual images taken on 20 November from a distance of 30.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/C-G. The image resolution is 2.6 m/pixel, so each original 1024 x 1024 pixel ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jeweller
5 / 5 (1) Oct 12, 2013
Was the gravitational tug too sharp ?
nkalanaga
5 / 5 (1) Oct 13, 2013
More likely either hit a very high energy cosmic ray and the computer suffered a glitch or hit a very small piece of space junk. An object as small as Juno wouldn't feel any tidal stresses from passing Earth, and I doubt that the turn was sharp enough for inertial stresses to matter.

I also doubt that Earth's radiation belts would be a problem, as Juno has to be shielded against Jupiter's much stronger radiation.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.