A satellite will soon depart Toulouse… on a mission to Jupiter

l’s imminent departure Airbus probe. The JUICE interplanetary probe (JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer mission) will fly to Kourou, in French Guiana, from Toulouse. Departure from the Pink City is scheduled for the beginning of February. It is scheduled to take off on the Ariane 5 on April 5, 2023.

Assembled in Toulouse

The spacecraft is located at Airbus in Toulouse Since August 2021 for final assembly and testing. Engineers have assembled state-of-the-art equipment and solar panels. For the record, this is the largest solar panel ever built on Earth for planetary exploration. These tools will be needed to run the mission on 740 million km from the sunsets Airbus.

© Airbus 2022 / Jean-Baptiste Akaris / Master Films

As JUICE’s departure from the launch pad is imminent, we are reminded of its ground journey across several Airbus sites in Europe towards final integration and involved nearly 500 Airbus employees who prepared the spacecraft for its eight-year journey […]”And ultimately studying Jupiter and its icy moons in depth,” said Cyril Cavill, JUICE project manager at Airbus Defense and Space.

Shield honoring Galileo

On Friday, January 20, a memorial plaque was unveiled in Toulouse. The painting is a tribute to the famous Italian scientist Galileo. The latter was installed on the spacecraft in honor of the astronomer, who was the first to look at Jupiter and its largest moon through a telescope in 1610.

During its journey of more than two billion kilometers, the JUICE probe, which weighs 6.2 tons, will collect data on the icy moons of Jupiter in an effort to see if the moons have the right conditions for microbial life.

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Well equipped

The probe will hold 10 modern scientific instruments. Instruments include cameras, spectrometers, ice penetrating radar, altimeter, radio science experiment, and sensors. Therefore, JUICE will conduct an unprecedented study of the Jovian system that will include in-depth analyzes of three possible ocean moons: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.

During his four-year stint, JUICE will spend nine months orbiting the icy moon Ganymede To analyze their formation and evolution, characterize their subglacial surroundings and study their habitability. As a reminder, after being selected by the European Space Agency as prime contractor in 2015, Airbus took the lead in a pan-European industrial consortium to design and build this spacecraft, which will bring a piece of Toulouse to Jupiter.

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