JUICE arrives in French Guiana for launch, project manager outlines next steps

JUICE arrives in French Guiana for launch, venture supervisor outlines subsequent steps

Scheduled for launch from the Middle Spatial Guyanais (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana on April 13, 2023, the European House Company’s (ESA) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission will purpose to uncover the secrets and techniques of the three most massive icy moons of Jupiter. : Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. JUICE’s suite of devices will permit scientists to deeply discover and characterize the moons, every of which is believed to have massive our bodies of liquid water beneath their surfaces, creating probably liveable environments for all times.

After completion of building and testing at an Airbus manufacturing facility in Toulouse, France, JUICE was shipped to CSG in French Guiana, the place it arrived on February 9, 2023, and is at present being processed for its launch in April.

Many milestones and aims await the JUICE groups, earlier than and after launch. NASASpaceflight carried out a one-on-one interview with Cyril Cavel, JUICE Program Supervisor at Airbus Protection and House in Toulouse, France, for extra info on the mission and the progress of processing launches in French Guiana.

The story of JUICE

JUICE started as a reformatted model of ESA’s Jupiter Ganymede Orbiter mission, which was a part of the canceled NASA/ESA Europa Jupiter System Mission – Laplace (EJSM-Laplace) proposal. Following the announcement of JUICE’s mission proposal, it grew to become a candidate for the L-class mission of ESA’s Cosmic Imaginative and prescient program, which goals to pick and launch spacecraft for exploration and astronomy from the photo voltaic system.

JUICE was chosen as Cosmic Imaginative and prescient’s first L-class (L1) mission on Might 2, 2012. Spacecraft payload choice befell in February 2013, and Airbus Protection and House was chosen as prime contractor of JUICE in July 2015. As prime contractor, Airbus could be answerable for the design, building and testing of JUICE, all at Airbus’ premises in Toulouse, France.

Rendering of the JUICE spaceship. (Credit score: ESA)

In March 2016, the overview of mission and system necessities was accomplished, permitting Airbus to start the design and building section of the mission. In the meantime, 2017 noticed the preliminary spacecraft and instrument design critiques, in addition to the bottom section necessities overview, the latter of which was accomplished the next yr in December 2018.

JUICE’s mission design section accelerated considerably in 2019, with the important spacecraft design overview accomplished in March and the science floor section design overview accomplished the next month. In September 2019, meeting of the JUICE flight mannequin started, formally kicking off the development section of the mission.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic then considerably delayed building of the spacecraft, with ultimate integration and testing not starting till mid-2022. In the meantime, the bottom section readiness overview was not accomplished till November, and the JUICE qualification and acceptance overview was lastly accomplished on January 18, 2023, ending the development and check phases of the mission.

JUICE launch processing

After arriving at CSG, the spacecraft was moved to the Payload Preparation Facility and unpacked, permitting launch processing procedures to start.

“We additionally perform quite a few assessments, leak assessments, electrical checks and efficiency assessments with the intention to confirm that after transport and on the very finish of all of the environmental check campaigns of spacecraft in France, the subsystem of chemical propulsion nonetheless works correctly,” says Cavel.

Most of these post-shipment reverification checks are widespread with varied satellites.

“Together with this, we’re performing quite a few ultimate useful assessments on the spacecraft – exercising all of the useful chains of the platform and devices to confirm that we’re able to go,” Cavel added. “We’re going to do that [until about mid-March].”

As a part of his place as Venture Supervisor of JUICE, Cavel oversaw the development, testing, and transport of JUICE. He’s at present stationed in French Guiana, the place he’s intently following the processing procedures for the launch of JUICE and, ultimately, the launch itself.

One among these procedures that Cavel will oversee in French Guiana is the switch of JUICE from one processing plant to a different. As soon as the groups end making ready JUICE within the Payload Preparation Facility, the spacecraft will must be moved to the Hazardous Supplies Processing Facility.

“Round mid-March we might be shifting to a different facility right here at CSG referred to as the Hazard Processing Facility or HPF. That is the power the place we’ll energy the spacecraft. We’ve to load three and a half tons of gas into our large propellant tanks, that are contained in the central cylinder of the spacecraft.

“That is carried out by our subcontractor, ArianeGroup. It is a harmful exercise that may take about two weeks,” Cavel stated.

JUICE, the higher stage of Ariane 5, might be put in on the prime of its launch in April. (Credit score: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/CSG video optics – S Martin)

As soon as all the mandatory propellants have been loaded into JUICE, the spacecraft will then be moved to the Ariane 5 rocket’s processing facility, the place it will likely be coupled to the higher stage of the launch car.

“After which we’ll proceed with the coupling of the spacecraft to the interface adapter of the launcher. That is the start of what we name “mixed operations”. We are going to meet the launcher and the method [the two vehicles] in parallel. Closing preparation of the spacecraft and launch car due to this fact takes place, together with docking, fairing encapsulation, and the final actions earlier than the ultimate launch countdown.

When launch day arrives, at present scheduled for April 13, 2023, JUICE might be despatched into house atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the ELA-3 pad, in what would be the penultimate launch of a Ariane 5. After separating from the highest of the Ariane 5 higher stage, the spacecraft will start an eight-year journey to the Jovian system.

In the course of the coastal section of JUICE, the spacecraft will make a complete of 4 flybys – one of many Earth-Moon system in August 2024, one in every of Venus in August 2025, after which two extra of Earth in September 2026 and January 2029. Every of those flybys will see JUICE use Earth-Moon, Venus, or Earth’s gravity to spice up its pace with out utilizing thrusters.

On the finish of the fourth and ultimate flyby, JUICE’s aphelion (the farthest level from the Solar in its orbit) will attain Jupiter’s orbital aircraft. These maneuvers are referred to as gravitational assists and serve to extend the pace of a spacecraft and, due to this fact, alter its general orbit.

Assuming a well timed launch and profitable completion of all 4 pull assists, JUICE will arrive on Jupiter in July 2031, making its first flyby of an icy moon, Ganymede, shortly after coming into Jupiter’s sphere of affect.

Over the following three years, JUICE will carry out a number of flybys of Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa, in the end culminating within the spacecraft coming into orbit round Ganymede in December 2034, the place it can stay out the remainder of its mission.

JUICE will ultimately use all of its thrusters to de-orbit Ganymede in late 2035, impacting the moon’s floor shortly thereafter.

(Predominant picture: JUICE is unpacked following supply to CSG in French Guiana. Credit score: ESA-CNES-Arianespace/CSG Video Optics/S. Martin)

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