Visit Juice Space Exploration, which explores Jupiter’s icy moons

Illustration de la sonde Juice de l'ESA à proximité de Jupiter et de sa lune glacée potentiellement habitable Europe. © ESA, AOES

Under The sun On this beautiful and cold day of April 5, 2022, the guides of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Space welcome us and prepare us to enter a clean room. Disinfection of equipment, we pass the blouse, overshoes and Charlotte. It is not every day that you see the almost complete interplanetary exploration of Europe. We walk between satellites integrated into the Airbus space clean room Project Manager Of the ESA study. Between the test chambers a telecommunications satellite waits to sink into a vast vacuum chamber for thermal testing.

Finally we came to the front of the room MistralThe Anemia Room Dedicated to sound and communication tests. It is a large room 15 meters high, with all its sides covered by small pyramids Moss The swallower of it all Vibration. The room is perfectly sound resistant. Juice Waiting for us there.

The investigation is almost over. It is missing Solar panels, They will be combined shortly after several tests. Juice should be ready to go to Kourou in January 2023 for the shooting campaign Guyana Space Center Lasts three months. Finally, the study will depart on the last ship Rocket Ariadne5From April 5, 2023.

A long series of trials in Toulouse

When we arrived, the juice was coming out of a series of contact tests in the Mistral Room. Airbus Space and ESA simulated communications between the study and the operations center, ESOC, in Dormstadt, Germany. Thibault Ravili, who has been an engineer at Airbus Space for nearly ten years, joined Juice Adventure in April 2019 as Test Manager. He certifies that these last tests were successfully completed.

Juice will still be in the Mistral Room for a while for new experimentsInterruption. For three weeks, Thibaut Ravili and Airbus engineers will now carry out the tests Compatibility The electronics of the study, as well as its compatibility Ariadne5. ” The antennas are placed in specific locations – in the room – given by Arianespace, and then the electromagnetic levels are measured. “, Explains Thibo Ravili, study and the Initiator Do not disturb each other.

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Self-compliance experiments, that is, the consistency between the study and its scientific tools, are yet to come. Also in the program, new thermal tests in the vacuum chamber. The trial has passed some before, but it is not over. Tests can be lengthy and require working 24 hours a day with groups of relays. The Juice project alone should bring in a federation of a thousand people.

The study is fully integrated with the exception of solar panels

The site of the satellite site was obtained in 2019. Little by little, Airbus Space added all the accessories needed for its proper functioning: navigation, propulsion, wiring, and so on. Many subsystems and equipment come from suppliers outside of Airbus space, some of which are Toulouse-based. Since juice is a European task, ESA has ensured that geographical revenue is respected.

Synchronizing the integration of each of these components is no easy task for Airbus Space. Each was previously tested, one of which was in the observatory. Now, this is the status of Juice’s navigation camera Moons Thursday or Stars That the study was flying in the way. Tested with the Moon from the Now Game Big to Midi Laboratory.

Almost everything is copied, especiallyComputer Board, in ” Each component is attached to the copy “Thibault Ravili says. On the motivation side, only Node The main engine is unique. All other booster engine nozzles were fitted twice for extra protection. For general orientation, the probe is fitted with a trackerStar Extra. One axis is needed first to determine the plane and the other to determine the plane so that the probe knows the orientation of rotation of its three axes (such as the pitch-roll-yaw trio in flight). So juice has a third. This type of work requires the redundancy of equipment.

Once the satellite platform for the study is complete, the ESA is there Sent to European Center for Space Research and Technology, Estec, will pass long thermal tests in a vacuum chamber. Later, the study was moved to Toulouse in 2021 to integrate ten scientific instruments. More precisely, it is the instrument aircraft models that have modified the test models. After this stage of testing the whole study, all that remains is to integrate the solar panels and test their sorting before sending everything to the crew. ” The timing is good ! “, Thibault Raville assures us.

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New flight plan

This is a great novelty for work. Initially, the juice should leave early, but delays are particularly relevant Health crisis The ESA forced the flight to be postponed to 2023. “The teams felt there was a wonderful option for this. Save time and moneyEnergy Launching it in the spring, Manuela Baroni, AIT manager and juice launcher interface at ESA, tells us.

On the show, many others Flyovers Of the planets The Solar System Before entering the system Jovian. These over-flights make use of it possible Gravity The planets must be an accelerator Speed Enough to reach Jupiter when spending the least amount of fuel.

The Window The shooting will last a few weeks and begin on April 5, 2023. For more than a year, before flying for the first time on Earth in August 2024, Juice will orbit the Sun. But just before that, the gravitational assistant that also uses the probe moon, which is not really common.

This will be followed by an overview Friday In August 2025. In this case, the juice teams will test their scientific tools. After that, the study will fly twice over the Earth in September 2026 and August 2029. After that it will be fast enough to reach Jupiter on July 2031.

The task begins with the first view of CanimedeThen the study will take time to reduce its Around the circular path Around Jupiter. In July 2032, Juice will fly over Jupiter’s first icy moon for the first time. Europe. Moon Juice will not read much because The NASA Plans to send Euroba Clipper Review From 2024 onwards. According to the last Snow Moon Callisto, there are planned to build 21 flying lanes.

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Finally, in December 2034, the juice will come into orbit Canimede And will orbit it until the end of 2035, when it is decided to deactivate the probe on its surface. The work will officially be completed in 2038Archiving Data.

The Journey of the Juice Study and the Visit of the Jovian Organization. © ESA, YouTube

A mission with new objectives

In fact, this is not the ESA that the project looks like, but the company has always dreamed of a mission for Jupiter. This project predates the Laplace project, a joint venture between NASA and ESA. Finally, the task was divided into two: the Europa Clipper on the NASA page and the juice on the European side through ESA’s Cosmic Vision program. The Juice Project was approved by the agency in 2012. Today, this magnificent work costs a total of almost 1.7 billion euros.

Extract study (Jupiter ICy Moons Explorer) Will help achieve two goals: to provide data on the atmospheres of Jupiter’s icy moons capable of supporting extraterrestrial life. Data on GoneMite can be very useful for this. The second purpose is to observe the Jovian Solar System. ” Like a small solar system Says Manuela Baroni, to learn more about the formation of our planetary system.

The Juice project actually has another non-scientific purpose: to test the development of new technologies to study Jupiter’s moons closer, even though they are farther away from Earth. This development could be used for more ambitious later missions, such as interplanetary manned spaceflight. As Manuela Baroni would like to say: ” Man is always a researcher!

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