NASA launches satellite mission to Jupiter
The Juno spacecraft will reach Jupiter in 2016.
August 5th, 2011
12:33 PM ET

NASA launches satellite mission to Jupiter

The Mission Juno satellite launched into clear blue skies Friday, beginning a five-year journey to the largest planet in our solar system - Jupiter.

NASA launched the $1.1 billion satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 12:25 p.m., after almost a decade of building and testing the spacecraft.

A minute technical issue and a boat inside the launch safety zone delayed lift off through several holding periods. The satellite was originally scheduled to launch at 11:34 a.m.

Mission Juno will offer an unprecedented look beneath the clouds of Jupiter and offer insight into how the solar system was formed, NASA said.

Juno was launched atop an Atlas V 551 rocket, one of the world's most powerful, NASA said. The rocket can reach a top speed of 4,500 mph and is expected to reach Earth's orbit in about 10 minutes.

After parking in orbit, a second booster will fire, sending the rocket on it's way to Jupiter, the site said.

Once Juno separates from the rocket, its three solar arrays - each the size of a tractor trailer - will unfold and face the sun. The energy the panels absorb from the sun will power the rocket throughout the mission, the site said.

After circling the inner ring of the solar system for two years, the craft will use the Earth's gravitational pull to sling itself toward the gaseous planet. By 2016, Juno will have traveled the 400 million miles to reach Jupiter, according to the mission's website.

Jupiter is key to understanding the solar system because it's believed to be the first planet to exist after the formation of the sun, said Scott Bolton, principal investigator for the mission, told reporters last week.

"It got the majority of the leftovers after the sun formed," Bolton said. "We want the ingredient list."

He added that the mission will investigate, among other things, what lies in Jupiter's core. Jupiter is nearly 1,300 times larger than Earth.

The spacecraft will be the first solar-powered satellite to journey as far as Jupiter, Bolton said. Other NASA missions to Jupiter, like Galileo, have used nuclear fuel.

The craft will periodically communicate with NASA engineers on Earth and is programmed to respond to glitches and unexpected trouble, NASA said.

NASA officials said Mission Juno will build upon knowledge gained from the eight previous missions to Jupiter.

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Filed under: Jupiter • Solar System • Space
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. fernace

    This is so exciting , I thank educated posters for correcting CNNs mistakes & presenting the facts! This projects $$ was obviously allocated years ago, it has nothing to do with our current economy! I agree that science is a much more worthy subject for governmental support than any war! Obama has cut funding because Everything is on the chopping block now! I don't agree, but I don't agree with cutting the education funds or my moms SS, either! Anyway, can't wait to see pics & info from Jupiter! Awesome!!

    August 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ms. Banasy

    I so love your enthusiastic responses to everything, dear fernace.
    You restore some of my faith in mankind!

    August 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. fernace

    Hey Ms. banasy, just having fun & getting some educucation in the process!! Have a good eve with mr. banasy! 🙂

    August 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    S'cuse me, that's Education! My fingers suttered! Lol!

    August 5, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. HelenHull102951

    Great. Let's put some dirty mexicans in there and send them to mars.

    August 7, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. christopher,damon,koutselas,katakouzenos,IXXV

    I hope that there will be evidence for the jupitier mission that I would be able to serch and find and be able to compile my theroy.not a junior edutdition. for grades.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mohd. Ajmal

    I hope it will be a great experience for them and we will get some more good information.

    Mohd. Ajmal

    August 10, 2011 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Paulette

    I was at the launch! It was spectacular to witness. My son had a part in building a radiometer for the satellite. Something to do with water on Jupiter. It's really hard to understand. Anyway, there is no way to describe how cool it was to see live! We watched from Kennedy Space Center but we had to be bussed in to a different location which was for NASA employees and their families. A part of history which my son was part of. He works for NASA. All his years of education has paid off. Stay in school and go to college everyone. It's worth it for sure.

    August 13, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Peter

    As much as I support science education and basic research (and I do with all my heart and soul), I am saddened by the responses of people who have forgotten how to read, write and spell. There is more to life than texting, folks.

    August 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. person

    I cant find the name :€

    November 4, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. person

    I cant find the name of the satellite! WHERE IS THE NAME :€

    November 4, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
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