Juno Spacecraft Burns Towards Jupiter

First Posted: Feb 04, 2016 09:33 AM EST

The solar system's giant planet is going to have a guest. NASA's solar-powered powered Juno spacecraft has had a maneuver adjustment and is ready to head towards Jupiter to carry out observations of the giant gas planet. The maneuver adjustment will pave the way for Juno's arrival to Jupiter in about five months.

"This is the first of two trajectory adjustments that fine tune Juno's orbit around the sun, perfecting our rendezvous with Jupiter on July 4 at 8:18 p.m. PDT [11:18 p.m. EDT]," Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a news release.

Juno's maneuver adjustment began on Feb. 3 at 10:38 a.m. PST (1:38 p.m. EST), where the spacecraft's thrusters consumed about 1.3 pounds (0.6 kilograms) of fuel during the burn. This adjustment changed the spacecraft's speed by one foot (0.31 meters) per second. During the time of the maneuver, Juno was 51 million miles away from Jupiter and about 425 million miles away from Earth. Juno's next "trajectory correction maneuver" will take place on May 31.

Juno will orbit the Jovian world 33 times, where it will observe the planets from a distance of 3,100 miles. Juno will carry out observations of Jupiter and its aurorae, which will enable mission scientists to have a better understanding of the planet's structure, atmosphere, its origin along with its magnetosphere.

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