NASA’s Juno mission is now only 26 days and 11.1 million miles away from Jupiter

What & Where is Juno?

 

as of May 6, 2016, Juno is approximately 450 million miles (724 million kilometers) from Earth. The one-way radio signal travel time between Earth and Juno is currently about 40 minutes.

Juno is traveling at a velocity of approximately 60,000 miles per hour (about 26.9 kilometers per second) relative to Earth, 15,000 miles per hour (about 6.7 kilometers per second) relative to the Sun, and 13,000 miles per hour (about 6 kilometers per second) relative to Jupiter. Juno has now travelled 1.74 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers, or 18.73 aU) since launch, and has another 19 million miles to go (31 million kilometers, or 0.20 aU) before entering orbit around Jupiter.

The Juno spacecraft is in excellent health and is operating nominally.

Juno will arrive at Jupiter on July 4, 2016, at 8:35 p.m. PDT (Earth Received Time). Track and visualize Juno’s journey through space using NaSa’s Eyes on the Solar System 3D interactive.

after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida nearly five years ago, NaSa’s Juno mission is now only 26 days and 11.1 million miles away from Jupiter.NaSa-Juno-mission-is-now-only-26-days-and-11-million-miles-away-rom-Jupiter

While americans are busy celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks, Juno will fire its main engine for 35 minutes, placing it into a polar orbit around the gas giant. according to NaSa, this will be a daring planetary encounter because Jupiter lies in the harshest radiation environment known. But scientists have specially designed Juno to safely navigate this inhospitable territory.

“We’re currently closing the distance between us and Jupiter at about four miles per second,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator for Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San antonio, Texas. “But Jupiter’s gravity is tugging at us harder every day and by the time we arrive we’ll be accelerated to 10 times that speed — more than 40 miles per second (nearly 70 kilometers per second) — by the time our rocket engine puts on the brakes to get us into orbit.”

The Juno mission team is using these last weeks to evaluate and re-evaluate every portion of the Jupiter orbit insertion (JOI) process, finding very low probability events and running them to ground — determining which, if any, need to be addressed. Two scenarios have been identified for further work. The first is a variation in how Juno would come out of safe mode—a protective mode if the spacecraft were to encounter an anomaly or unexpected condition. a second item involves a minor software update.

“We are in the last test and review phases of the JOI sequence as part of our final preparations for JupNaSa-Juno-mission-is-now-only-26-days-and-11-million-miles-away-rom-Jupiteriter orbit insertion,” said Rick Nybakken, project manager of Juno for NaSa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Throughout the project, including operations, our review process has looked for the likely, the unlikely and then the very unlikely. Now we are looking at extremely unlikely events that orbit insertion could throw at us.”

NaSa’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter after an almost five-year journey. News briefings, photo opportunities and other media events will be held at NaSa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and air live on NaSa Television and the agency’s website.

In the evening of July 4, Juno will perform a suspenseful orbit insertion maneuver, a 35-minute burn of its main engine, to slow the spacecraft by about 1,212 miles per hour (542 meters per second) so it can be captured into the gas giant’s orbit. Once in Jupiter’s orbit, the spacecraft will circle the Jovian world 37 times during 20 months, skimming to within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops. This is the first time a spacecraft will orbit the poles of Jupiter, providing new answers to ongoing mysteries about the planet’s core, composition and magnetic fields.

NaSa TV Events Schedule

For all media briefings, reporters may ask questions by phone by contacting Gina Fontes at 818-354-9380 or georgina.d.fontes@jpl.nasa.gov. all times are Eastern.

Thursday, June 16
2 p.m. — Mission status briefing at NaSa Headquarters in Washington

Thursday, June 30
1 p.m. — Mission overview news briefing at JPL
2 p.m. — Mission outreach briefing at JPL

Monday, July 4 – Orbit Insertion Day
Noon — Pre-orbit insertion briefing at JPL
10:30 p.m. — Orbit insertion and NaSa TV commentary begin

Tuesday, July 5
1 a.m. — Post-orbit insertion briefing at JPL