Team Begins Powering Up Juno Science Instruments

Juno fires its main engine during orbit insertion. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Juno fires its main engine during orbit insertion. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

July 8, 2016 – The engineers and scientists working on NASA’s Juno mission have been busying themselves, getting their newly arrived Jupiter orbiter ready for operations around the largest planetary inhabitant in the solar system. Juno successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35-minute engine burn on Monday, July 4. Confirmation that the burn had completed was received on Earth at 9:53 pm. MDT (11:53 p.m. EDT) that evening.

As planned, the spacecraft returned to high-rate communications on July 5 and powered up five of its science instruments on July 6. Per the mission plan, the remaining science instruments will be powered up before the end of the month. Juno’s science instruments had been turned off in the days leading up to Jupiter orbit insertion.

“We had to turn all our beautiful instruments off to help ensure a successful Jupiter orbit insertion on July 4,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

The Juno team has scheduled a short trajectory correction maneuver on July 13 to refine the orbit around Jupiter.

The next time Juno’s orbit carries it close by the planet will be on August 27. The flyby is expected to provide some preliminary science data.

“Next time around we will have our eyes and ears open,” said Bolton. “You can expect us to release some information about our findings around September 1.”

The Juno spacecraft launched on August 5, 2011, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.