Airbus-built JUICE spacecraft set for lift-off to study Jupiter’s icy moons

Airbus-built JUICE spacecraft set for lift-off to study Jupiter’s icy moons

(PRESS RELEASE) TOULOUSE, 20-Jan-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — Airbus (EPA: AIR), a European multinational aerospace corporation, announces that the Airbus-built JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission) spacecraft is set to depart from Toulouse, France for Kourou, French Guiana for its launch on an Ariane 5 rocket in April 2023. The spacecraft has been in Toulouse for final assembly and testing since August 2021. The JUICE mission, led by the European Space Agency (ESA), will study Jupiter’s three largest icy moons and the Jovian system’s magnetic fields.

The JUICE spacecraft, weighing 6.2 tons, will collect data on the icy moons to understand if they could potentially host microbial life. It will carry 10 state-of-the-art scientific instruments, including cameras, spectrometers, and an ice-penetrating radar, to complete a unique tour of the Jupiter system. The spacecraft will spend nine months orbiting Ganymede, analyzing its nature and evolution, characterizing its subsurface ocean, and investigating its potential habitability.

In honor of the mission, a commemorative plaque was unveiled at Airbus in Toulouse as a tribute to Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was the first person to view Jupiter and its largest moons through a telescope in 1610, and the plaque has been mounted on the spacecraft to honor his contributions to the field of astronomy.

The JUICE mission has been a collaborative effort led by Airbus, with more than 80 companies across Europe participating in the design and construction of the spacecraft.

“With JUICE’s departure for the launch site fast approaching, we look back at its long Earthly journey through various Airbus sites in Europe towards final integration and involving close to 500 Airbus employees who prepared the spacecraft for its eight-year cruise,” said Cyril Cavel, JUICE Project Manager at Airbus Defence and Space.

“It has been an incredible adventure, along with more than 80 companies across Europe, to bring ESA’s vision to life and ultimately study Jupiter and its icy moons in fine detail.”

After being selected by ESA as prime contractor in 2015 Airbus has led a pan European industrial consortium to design and build this unique spacecraft.

For more information about JUICE, please visit our dedicated pages:

Media contacts:

Ralph Heinrich
Head of External Communications – Airbus Space Systems
Phone: +49 171 304 9751

Guilhem Boltz
External Communications – Airbus Space Systems, France
Phone: +33 6 34 78 14 08

Jeremy Close
External Communications – Airbus Space Systems, UK
Phone: +44 776 653 6572

Francisco Lechón
External Communications – Airbus Space Systems, Spain
Phone: +34 630 196 993

SOURCE: Airbus


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