Jupiter mission – 5 months ’til launch

NASA’S NEXT JUPITER PROBE, called Juno, is currently undergoing environmental testing at Lockheed Martin Space Systems near Denver.

The solar-powered Juno spacecraft will orbit Jupiter’s poles 33 times to find out more about the gas giant planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. The launch window for Juno from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida opens on August 5, 2011.

The video above is a parody of a “coming attraction” trailer created by NASA Television. The video was produced for a NASA movie-themed exhibit at an international conference.

The spacecraft is fully assembled and all instruments have been integrated.

In the photo below, taken on January 26, Juno had just completed acoustics testing that simulated the soundwave and vibration environment the spacecraft will experience during launch.

Juno spacecraft undergoing testing

NASA's fully assembled Juno spacecraft is undergoing testing to ensure it can withstand launch and the harsh environment of space.

The photo shows Lockheed Martin technicians inspecting the spacecraft just after the test. All three solar array wings were installed and stowed, and the spacecraft’s large high-gain antenna was in place on the top of the avionics vault.

At present, Juno is sealed in a large thermal vacuum chamber, where it is being exposed to the extreme cold and vacuum conditions it will experience on its voyage to Jupiter. The two-week-long test will also simulate many of the flight activities the spacecraft will execute during the mission.

Juno is scheduled to ship from Lockheed Martin’s facility to Kennedy Space Centre in early April, where it will undergo final preparations and launch.

More information: Juno mission

Adapted from information issued by NASA / JPL-Caltech / LMSS.

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