Visit the JUS Space Probe That Will Detect Jupiter’s Icy Moons

Under sun On this beautiful and cold day of April 5, 2022, our guides from Toulouse, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Space welcome us and prepare us to enter the clean room. Equipment disinfection, we pass blouses, overshoes and charlottes. It’s not every day that you get to see almost the entire European interplanetary probe. We walk among satellites being integrated into the Airbus Space Clean Room, project Manager ESA checked. Passing through the test chambers, we see a telecommunications satellite waiting to be dropped into a vast vacuum chamber for thermal tests.

Finally we come to the front of the room mistralThe anechoic chamber Dedicated to acoustic and communication tests. It is a large room 15 meters high, all the sides of which are covered with small pyramids. Moss all who swallow echo, The room is completely soundproof. Juice There waiting for us.

The investigation is almost over. it’s just missing solar panels, they will be attached a little later, after several tests. Juice should be ready to go to Kourou in January 2023 for a shooting expedition Guyana Space Center Which will last for three months. In the end, the investigation will start last rocket Ariadne 5From 5th April 2023.

A long series of trials in Toulouse

When we arrived, juice was pouring out of a series of communication tests in the Mistral Room. Airbus Space and ESA simulated communications between the probe and operations center at ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany, from where it would be piloted. Thibault Ravili, an engineer at Airbus Space for nearly ten years, joined Juice Adventure in April 2019 as test manager. He certifies that these final tests have been successfully completed.

Russ will still be in the Mistral Room for some time for new testsInterference, For three weeks, Thibault Ravili and Airbus engineers will test the now compatibility The electronics of the probe, as well as its compatibility Ariadne 5, , Antennas are placed in specific locations – in the room – given by Arianespace, then electromagnetic levels are measured “, explains Thibault Ravli, to ensure that the investigation and launcher Don’t disturb each other.

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Self-compatibility testing, that is, continuity between the probe and its scientific instruments, has yet to be said. Also on the program, new thermal tests in a vacuum chamber. The investigation has passed some time ago, but not when it was completed. The tests can be long, and regularly require us to work on them 24 hours a day, with relays from teams. The RUS project alone should bring together a union of a thousand people.

The probe is fully integrated with the exception of solar panels

The structure of the satellite platform was received in 2019. Gradually, Airbus Space added all the subsystems necessary for its proper functioning: navigation, propulsion, wiring, etc. Many of the subsystems and equipment come from suppliers outside Airbus Space, some of which are based in Toulouse. Since RUS is a European mission, ESA has ensured that the geographic return is respected.

Synchronizing the integration of each of these components for Airbus Space was no easy task. Each had been tested before, including in an observatory. This is the case for Juice’s navigation camera, NavCam, which helps him find his bearings in relation to whose position Moon Jupiter or Of Stars That the probe will fly in the way. The NavCam from the Pic du Midi observatory was tested with the Moon.

Almost everything is imitated, especiallycomputer board, in which Each component is placed in duplicate says Thibault Ravili. On the propulsion side, only tip The main engine is unique. All other booster engine nozzles were double-mounted for greater safety. For normal orientation, the probe is equipped with a trackerStar Excessive. The first is needed to determine one axis and the second to determine an aircraft so that the probe can know the orientation of its three axes of rotation (such as the pitch-roll-yaw trio in aviation). So the juice has an extra third. This type of mission requires a redundancy of equipment.

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Once the probe’s satellite platform is complete, ESA has sent to the European Center for Space Research and Technology, Estec, to make it pass long thermal tests in a vacuum chamber. Then, in 2021 the probe was moved to Toulouse for the integration of ten scientific instruments. More precisely, it is the instrument flight models that have replaced the test model. After this phase of testing the entire probe, all that’s left is to integrate the solar panels and test their deployment before sending everything to Kourou. , good timing , “, assures us Thibault Ravili.

new flight plan

This is a great innovation for the mission. Initially, the juice was supposed to release first, but especially concerned with delay. health crisis Forced ESA to suspend flight until 2023. The teams felt that “a great substitute for” save time andenergy Launching it in the spring, tells us Manuela Baroni, the AIT Manager and Juice Launcher interface at ESA.

many in the program flyover of the planets Solar system before entering the system gleeful, These make it possible to use overflights gravity planet as an accelerator pace Enough to reach Jupiter while expending minimal fuel.

Window The firing lasts for a few weeks and begins on April 5, 2023. JUS will orbit the Sun for the first time in August 2024 before flying back to Earth. Gravity Assistant, which isn’t really normal.

will be observed later Venus in August 2025. On this occasion JUS teams will test their scientific instruments. After that, the probe will fly over Earth twice, in September 2026 and August 2029. It will then have enough speed to reach Jupiter in July 2031.

The mission will begin with the first observation GanymedeSo it will take time to reduce the investigation To revolve around around Jupiter. Juice will fly over Jupiter’s first icy moon for the first time in July 2032, Europe, Moon will not be studied much by Rasa because NASA planned to send Europa Clipper Probe from 2024. For the last icy moon Callisto, there were plans to make 21 flybys.

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Finally, in December 2034, Ras will orbit Ganymede and will circle around it until the end of 2035, when a decision will be made to crash the probe onto its surface. The mission will be officially completed in 2038Collection data.

Journey of the Juice Probe and Journey of the Jovian System. © ESA, YouTube

A mission with new objectives

In fact, it is not ESA that is at the core of the project but the agency that has always dreamed of a mission to Jupiter. The project is part of the Laplace Program, a joint mission between NASA and ESA. Ultimately, the mission was split into two parts: Europa Clipper on the NASA side and Russ on the European side through ESA’s Cosmic Vision program. The JUS project was adopted by the agency in 2012. Today, the total cost of this spectacular mission will be around 1.7 billion euros.

juice test (Jupiter ICE Moons Explorer) will help achieve two goals: to provide data on the atmospheres of Jupiter’s icy moons that are potentially capable of supporting extraterrestrial life. Ganymede’s stats will come in handy for this. The second objective is to observe the Jovian Solar System” like a miniature solar system To learn more about the formation of our planetary system, says Manuela Baroni.

The JUS project also has another purpose that isn’t really scientific: to test the development of new techniques to study Jupiter’s moons despite their great distance from Earth. This development could be used for more ambitious later missions, such as interplanetary manned flight. As Manuela Baroni likes to say: ” Man has always been an inventor! ,

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