On July 25, 2019, Airbus said that the first step in the construction of the inner structure of the European Space Agency (ESA) JUICE satellite was completed.
Airbus is building the JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) spacecraft for ESA’s Cosmic Vision program. In total, a consortium of over 60 companies across Europe are working on the project.
The goal is to investigate the potential for Jupiter’s icy moons Europa, Callisto and Ganymede to harbour habitable environments such as subsurface oceans. JUICE will also observe Jupiter, its atmosphere, magnetosphere, other satellites and rings, Airbus explains in a statement.
“JUICE is the first ‘large-class’ mission in our Cosmic Vision program and of prime importance for investigating the habitability potential of ocean-worlds beyond our own,” said Günther Hasinger, ESA’s Director of Science.
“We’re delighted to confirm it will have a flying start with an Ariane launch vehicle, setting it on course to fulfill its scientific goals in the Jupiter system,” Hasinger added.
The launch is planned in 2022, which means that the spacecraft would arrive at Jupiter in 2029. The journey is going to take seven years, as it will cover 600 million kilometers (372 million miles) through space.
An Ariane vehicle will be used to launch JUICE into space, Arianespace and ESA confirmed at the International Paris Air Show on June 17, 2019.
Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Jupiter: NASA/ESA/J. Nichols (University of Leicester)