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. bobcat2u

    Another one point one million dollars spent on a useless space mission. God fobid they use this money for something useful. Like the cutting of expenditures that the republicans so badly want. I mean, what it is really being accomplished with this latest mission, and in what way is it giong to deal with the problems we are experiencing here on earth ? Priorities are pretty screwed up right now.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      They spent 1.1 Billion Dollars not 1.1 Million... you wouldn't get very far with a 1.1 million dollar interstellar satellite...

      August 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iceman

      Hate to break it to you, bobcat, but that's 1.1 BILLION. To my mind that is money much better spent than the TRILLIONS that have gone to the conflicts overseas. The technology that was developed for this mission and the discoveries that will be made could be tremendously important in the future. It takes some imagination to move forward...

      August 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jparenti

      People like you show up on every science or space-related article to whine in the exact manner you are whining. How about you do some research on your own and find out? Your questions have only been answered about twenty million times.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      MEA CULPA to all of my correctors here. My finger went stupid and hit the M instead of the B. I am so ashamed !!!!

      August 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      What kind of an idiot are you? NASA's budget is a fraction of a percent of the federal budget, and constantly is in the middle of receiving cuts because it seems the US has stopped valuing scientific research. We don't 'help earth' by stop funding science. Want an example of why?

      CERN's LEP, a multi-billion dollar particle collider, was the precursor to the LHC. Its job was to do science to help confirm standard model predictions, something about as esoteric as 'send a probe to Jupiter'. But, physcists at CERN had a problem. They didn't have a very good mechanism of processing all of the data that the LEP could collect, they needed a new language to facilitate data collection. What they developed in the process was html. The foundation for the world wide web was done thanks to particle physics research you could easily claim as just as much a waste.

      Innovations in science are usually tangential. Scientists don't set out with the goal of improving something in life, they set out with the goal of furthering scientific inquiry. No one ever thought "hey, by studying quantum tunnelling we could possibly invent a divice that takes advantage of the principle as data storage, oh, look, a flash drive". We stumble on the value after the fact.

      Perhaps new materials were developed in trying to protect the satellite. Perhaps new innovations in circuit design were needed. Perhaps (and reasonably likely) new innovations in communications transmission technology was needed. It's not the goal of the project, but they happen to come about in attempts to further our scientific understanding of the solar system.

      Anyone who says "don't study X, Y, and Z unless you can tell me how it will help me" doesn't understand the point of science. You do engineering, not science. Science is about inquiry, into ANYTHING, and sending these probes is a learning experience. The benefits we obtain here on earth are secondary, and frankly, are less interesting than what we stand to learn. It, however, is never a waste of money to fund scientific exploration.

      Oh, and fyi, it actually does help the economy too. Where do you think that money goes? They attach it to the rocket and send it away? No, it goes to the engineers on the project, it goes to pay for material costs funding workers in the factories generating the materials. It goes to the people who need to transport the materials. It goes to paying for jobs, so that mommy or daddy can come home and feed their children. Some people earn a living by being a politician. Some people earn their living by being a movie star. Some people do it by trying to increase the amount of knowledge that we as a species collectively share. And you want us to take more money from the already small pool from scientists? Thanks, but no thanks. There will never be a world without problems, but a world without science stands to put us in far dire straits than we're in now.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      An interesting side note as well, the LHC replaced LEP, and signalled the transition from the US Tevatron at Fermilab to the Europeans at CERN as far as particle physics research goes. The US used to be at the forefront. (And to the people at Fermilab, I love you guys, but I'm sorry, Xi-Sub-Pi is still no Higgs, and your Top Quark glory days are over)

      But it was because of short-sighted politicians the US lost its lead, not because the Europeans suddenly came out in full force to take the particle physics world by storm. The US was building a replacement to the Tevatron, the SSC (Superconducting Super Collider) out in Texas. It would have been massively more powerful than the LHC, and would have been completed a good decade before. Now, granted, it should probably have been built at Fermilab and just replaced the Tevatron itself, but in spite of that, we still would have had the lead in particle physics research in the US. But, it going over budget, and politicians not understanding that just because a project is designed for physics doesn't mean we don't benefit in other ways, the project was scrapped. This set the world a good decade behind in physics research, and of course signed the lead to the Europeans.

      And it's happening again. Congress recently cut NASA's budget, again, but they also said to NASA to scrap the James Webb Space Telescope project. Already 6 billion dollars have been spent, and they want to shut it down. It's the replacement for the Hubble, and if we kill the venture, it very much mirrors what happened to the SSC. We can't let our astronomy dominance collapse as well. The US used to be proud of its scientists, now it pretends like they don't exist.

      If any of you care about science and research, spread the word, SAVE THE JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE!

      August 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • you win the stupid award


      August 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • you win the stupid award

      even if you meant to put in a "B", you still win by a landslide victory!

      August 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      Didn't we have a republican in office at a time spending TONS and TONS of cash for a stupid war? C' is a very good reason to spend money. We are where we are today because of it. But placing republicans in a "good light" is very silly since.....well......we had one of those "spendy" guys in office. He did a wonderful job..........jk.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scuba

      @bobcat2u: I can't read one article without having to wear a stupid tin foil hat. Why don't you get off your big &$$ and go to school, so you can enter politics and change the things you don't like, instead of whining about everything? NASA takes up about 1% of the budget and they have contributed more than any social program or war ever has. You wouldn't have your stupid computer if it weren't for science. Moron.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scuba

      *sorry for typos* "hear"

      August 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael Jeffrey Slebodnick

    just curious about the speed noted in the article –
    "The rocket can reach a top speed of 4,500 mph and is expected to reach Earth's orbit in about 10 minutes."

    Wouldn't this have had to have reached over 25,000 mph to leave earth orbit? Just to get the shuttle in orbit takes a speed of 17,000+ mph, ????

    just wondering ....

    August 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nasaboy

      Joey: You are correct. This is CNN remember. As far as statistics are concerend they are usually far off from accurate. Ten minutes after launch, the rocket was traveling at 15,500 MPH. The escape velocity of the earth is 25,000 (speed at launch) MPH, but a constant thrust will also do the job. At 25,000 MPH, the spacecraft would burn-up in the atmosphere. So the trick is to find a happy medium of speed, fuel burn and weight. Spacecraft get launched as fast as possible without burning up

      August 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • denim

      But it's not leaving orbit. It's going into a parking orbit from which one section will leave at a later moment.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ daftshadow:
    I agree that spending $1.1 billion on a spacecraft is questionable in our present economic situation.
    It would be much better to send that tax money to somebody who needs money.
    Send the money to me.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      This satellite project was started in 2001 not 2011... it was finished with production and testing in 2011... why turn back when your so close to the finish line... I think what NASA did was the right thing to do... they did no wrong here.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      As said, it was spent over a long time, and I'm also wondering, where is the money better spent? On wars? On feeding the hungry? Ok, so we fire the engineers on the project and then they go hungry. Do you forget that the spacecraft is put together by people? People who contribute to the economy?

      Scientific research commonly gives us one of the best return on investments possible, in ways we never expect as well. Cutting spending in any economy just signals that we have a poor grasp of priorities.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    Just finished lunch in Melbourne Florida and saw the big rocket lumbering into space. Almost as impressive as a shuttle launch!

    August 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rick Dangerous

    Great; $1.1 billion to set a satellite to nowhere. Cut the public space program. Let the billionaires in the world run space programs with their own money. In a time where our country needs to CUT BACK spending; they continue to spend on frivolous items. How is sending a billion bucks to Jupiter going to cut the unemployment rates in this country?

    Think of all the children you could educate with that money. Sorry to bring the kids into this; but every politician seems to do the same, as if it's going to sway my vote.

    We all HOPE for a CHANGE. The change will come during the next election.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Megatron

      Another brilliant post from an idiot who didn't do his homework on this project. Quit whining and get back to work!

      August 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      I don't agree. I'm pretty sure that this money is far less than what we spent in a stupid war abroad and It is also these advances that we need to keep doing to learn and and better our current situation. There are plenty of things to cut spending on, but I don't believe science should suffer. We are where we are today due to money invested in science.

      So next election MIGHT put another war spender out there on the lose. Watch what you wish for or at least remember what you just said here on this blog. $$$$$$$$

      August 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Weak Sauce

      You should DEFINITELY NOT BE VOTING! Stupid people should be barred from voting.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Employed Engineer

      Seriously? Do you realize how many thousands of people have contributed to this mission over the past several years? The final product is a huge collaboration of scientists, engineers, technicians, machinists, administrative staff, and more. All of the parts and materials that were purchased pump money back into the economy. I work in space research; I earn a living working on projects similar to this. I get to go to work and do interesting, innovative, and challenging things. If NASA were to stop spending money on missions like this, I can guarantee that there would be many people out of a job. As far as education – think of the children you can inspire with this. What kid doesn't think sending something to Jupiter is cool? I attribute learning about space missions and wanting to do something interesting like that to my interest in engineering and my determination to get an education. And just fyi, NASA does allocate some of their budget to fund education through scholarships and grants.

      August 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. momo

    I dont think its fair to critize something just on the basis of ignorance. This craft was built and funded over a decade... NASA didn't do this in a week... . But this article had so many factual errors...well it was all wrong. Get your facts strait before you post, CNN.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Celso

    There is a mistake on this article. Jupiter is not 1,300 times larger than Earth. It is around 11 times larger in diameter, 120 times larger in surface and 318 times larger in mass.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      CNN is famous for its erm, sub-par scientific reporting. I can't count the number of articles where they say 'a new scientific study says X!' and yet fail to link to the actual study itself.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • SML

      and what happened to the "Space" or "Science" section of CNN?

      August 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ms. Banasy

    I have to change my name from 'banasy' to Ms. Banasy, much as I did with Queen and Madame Royale, because I got trolled as soon as I started using 'banasy' again.
    I do assure you I am the one and only.
    I would love the other people to use their own name, or at least their mother's, but alas, it's not so.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Weak Sauce

    Just goes to show how powerful even a frugal space program can be! There is no doubt in my mind that we don't spend enough on our space program. However, it is amazing what we can accomplish with so little money. I thank the hard-working scientists and engineers who persevered for that decade to bring this to life.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Elmer

    Rick Dangerous: That's exactly what the finance ministers were telling Isabella and Ferdinand when they were listening to Columbus ask for money to go on a boondoggle trip to find a new route to the Far East.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Andrew

    I wish for a world where scientists are the rockstars. Where the likes of Dirac or Feynman become household names. How many physicists can you name? How many biologists? How many chemists?

    How many actors and actresses? How many basketball players, football players, soccer players, etc?

    I want a world where we fund science primarily. Where things like NASA don't get a half of a percent of the government's federal budget, where scientific research is given a top priority. I want a world where the people who value knowledge over all else lead it. Facts seem secondary and immaterial in today's society, this needs to change.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. yada

    I think the Solar power in this mission is very exciting! OK...please ppl...don't laugh...I just want to know how they find out what is at Jupiter's core. It can't be a drill, so how DO they accomplish that?

    August 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mr. Green Jeans

    Why don't you chew on your tim-foil hat? Bobcat2u's pov is no less valid than yours, you sanctimonious buffoon.

    August 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mr. Green Jeans

    Ooops, that should be TIN foil hat. But chew on it anyway, you ass. Then swallow. Heard you were good at that anyway, scuba-boy.

    August 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scuba

      @Mr. Green Jeans: You kinda act like you know me. Are you my stalking troll demon? I bet you're just mad you're always going to be a gutter rat while I'm basking in glorious wonders of existence. In fact my opinion was more valid, because I'm a doer and bobcat is a whiner. So many people crying about stuff when they could be out there helping. Has bobcat ever picked up a hammer to build low income housing? Have you? Have you helped feed a homeless man when others told him to F off? Has bobcat? Have you ever helped with the Salvation Army? Has bobcat? I'm poor, but I've still helped when I could even when this world and people like yourself kick me when I'm down, so yes my opinion is more valid. We would still be in the dark ages without science and exploration, so when someone whines about it from their computer that doesn't run on magic or hamsters I think they sound stupid. No tin foil needed for you though as you're a lightweight. You're very predictable and vanilla in terms of your attacks. I can almost expect what you're going to say. Have fun in your eternal cage you fool. You will stand defiant until you see the light fade away and then you will ask for forgiveness, but it will be too late. Haha I think it's hilarious. Sermon over. Have a blessed evening.

      August 5, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Andreas Moser

    That's money well spent.

    August 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
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