[Via Satellite 07-21-2015] The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus Defence and Space to develop and build the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) spacecraft, the first large mission of the ESA Cosmic Vision program. The company will build the satellite ahead of a 2022 Ariane 5 launch, following which the spacecraft will travel for 7.5 years to reach it’s destination.
JUICE will concentrate on three of the four Galilean moons — Ganymede, Europa and Callisto — as each potentially harbors a subterranean ocean. The mission will study the moons, addressing the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life.
To save fuel, JUICE will perform gravity assist maneuvers around Earth, Mars and Venus before reaching the Jupiter system. The spacecraft will carry 10 instruments covering a wide range of measurements techniques, and a large 97-square meter solar generator, the largest ever built for an interplanetary mission, to power the distant study. JUICE will conduct a 3.5-year orbital tour, following which the spacecraft will enter orbit around Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system. Airbus Defence and Space is planning a heightened level of magnetic cleanliness to avoid any perturbation of the scientific instruments.
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