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JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE)



The JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission to make multiple flybys of Jupiter's satellites Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa and then to go into orbit around Ganymede. The science goals focus on Jupiter and its system, with particular emphasis on Ganymede as a planetary body and potential habitat. The primary science objectives for Ganymede (most of these apply to Callisto as well) are: characterization of the ocean layers and detection of putative subsurface water reservoirs; topographical, geological and compositional mapping of the surface; study of the physical properties of the icy crusts; characterisation of the internal mass distribution, dynamics and evolution of theinteriors; investigation of the exosphere; and study of Ganymede's intrinsic magnetic field and its interactions with the Jovian magnetosphere. For Europa, the focus is on the chemistry essentialto life, including organic molecules, and on understanding the formation of surface features and the composition of the non water-ice material.

Mission Profile

JUICE is scheduled to be launched in a window running from 26 August to 15 September 2022 on an Ariane 5 from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. (A backup launch date is scheduled for August 2023, arriving at Jupiter in August 2031.) After a 7.6 year cruise to Jupiter, utilizing Earth, Venus, Earth, Earth gravity assists, JUICE will go into orbit around Jupiter in January 2030. The spacecraft will use flybys of Ganymede and Callisto to optimize the orbit. This will include two flybys of Europa in early 2031. These orbits will be used to study Jupiter and its moons until September 2032, when it will be inserted into a highly elliptical orbit around Ganymede. The orbit will evolve to a 5000 km circular orbit, and will be lowered into a 500 km circular orbit. After mapping and other investigations at this altitude, it will lowered again to a 200 km circular orbit. The nominal mission ends in June 2033, there is the possibility of an extension to the mission of 200 or more days. In either case the mission will end with an impact on the surface of Ganymede.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

The spacecraft is still in the development stage, but it will be powered by a large bank (60 - 75 square meters) of solar arrays employing GaAs solar cells optimized for low-intensity / low-temperature conditions. About 3000 kg of chemical propellant will be required for orbit insertions and maneuvers. Communications will be primarily via a ~3 meter diameter high-gain antenna, both X- and K-band will be used. Radiation shielding will be used to protect onboard electronics from the Jovian environment.

The JUICE science payload will include the JANUS camera system, the MAJIS visible and infrared imaging spectrometer, the UVS ultraviolet imaging spectrograph, RIME radar sounder, GALA laser altimeter, SWI submillimeter wave instrument, J-MAG magnetometer, PEP particle and plasma package, RPWI radio and plasma wave investigation, 3GM radio science package, and the PRIDE radio science instrument.

Alternate Names

    Facts in Brief

    Launch Date: 
    Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5
    Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana

    Funding Agency

    • European Space Agency (International)


    • Planetary Science

    Additional Information

    Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



    NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
    Dr. Olivier WitasseProject ScientistESA-European Space Research and Technology
    Dr. Giuseppe SarriProject ManagerEuropean Space
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