Juno marches on

March 23, 2011 By DC Agle
NASA's Jupiter-bound spacecraft, Juno, is undergoing testing at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, prior to shipment to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch window for Juno opens Aug. 5, 2011. Credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/Lockheed Martin

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Juno spacecraft has completed its thermal vacuum chamber testing. The two-week-long test, which concluded on March 13, 2011, is the longest the spacecraft will undergo prior to launch.

In the image, a technician is attaching the lifting equipment in preparation for hoisting the 1,588-kilogram (3,500-pound) spacecraft out of the chamber. Prominent in the photo is one of three large, black, square simulators, which reproduced the thermal properties of Juno's large solar arrays.

The actual solar arrays Juno will use to power the spacecraft during its voyage to, and its exploration of, Jupiter have already been shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The main body of the Juno spacecraft, including its suite of science instruments, is scheduled to ship to Kennedy in early April, where it will undergo final preparations and launch.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute at San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Space Systems, Denver, is building the . The Italian Space Agency in Rome is contributing an infrared spectrometer instrument and a portion of the radio science experiment. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Explore further: Image: Jupiter spacecraft nearing completion

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