JUICE Jupiter probes the large space simulator in the Netherlands
FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany – JUICE, the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission led by the European Space Agency (ESA), has left the Airbus Satellite Integration Center in Friedrichshafen (Germany) and is now en route to the chamber of the Large Space Simulator (LSS ) of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Noordwijk (Netherlands) for its first space experience. Over the next 12 months, starting with 31 days in the LSS vacuum chamber, the spacecraft will be exposed to the environmental conditions of space and will have to prove it is ready for its journey through Venus and Mars to Jupiter and its mission in the Jovian system.
Since arriving at the Airbus site 12 months ago, JUICE has equipped itself with its latest components: harness, power electronics, on-board computer, communication systems, navigation sensors, thermal equipment and especially its scientific instruments. . At the ESA test center at ESTEC in Noordwijk, the spacecraft will undergo a comprehensive environmental testing campaign including verification of its thermal control system and electrical components.
Together with their ESA colleagues, 120 space engineers and Airbus contractors will prepare and perform the tests. In July this year, the spacecraft will travel to Airbus in Toulouse for assembly of the flight configuration, ahead of the latest environmental tests, including electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), mechanics, deployment and propulsion. It will then be shipped to the Kourou launch site in French Guiana.
The 6.2-tonne JUICE spacecraft will depart in 2022 on its nearly 600 million-kilometer journey to Jupiter. The spacecraft will carry 10 state-of-the-art scientific instruments, including cameras, spectrometers, ice-penetrating radar, an altimeter, a radio-science experiment and sensors to monitor magnetic fields and charged particles in the Jovian system. JUICE will complement a unique tour of the Jupiter system that will include in-depth studies of three potentially oceanic moons with liquid water, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.
JUICE will spend more than three years in the Jupiter system, collecting data to provide answers on the conditions of planetary formation and the emergence of life. It will spend nine months in orbit around the frozen moon Ganymede to analyze its nature and evolution, as well as its potential habitability.