Juno has been celebrated and tomorrow we will see if it succeeds in this next step in its mission.
Jupiter is about to have a new friend. After a five year journey, the Juno spacecraft will enter Jupiter’s orbit late on the 4th of July. There, it will begin a series of observations about our solar system’s largest planet. To begin, however, the spacecraft has to slow down to allow it to be captured by Jupiter’s gravity. At 11:18 PM EDT on the 4th, Juno’s main engine will begin a 35 minute engine burn to decelerate it to the necessary speed. “If we miss this flyby, we’re assuming the mission’s over,” said Guy Beutelschies of Lockheed-Martin. If the engine doesn’t execute its burn correctly, the mission is at an end – too long, and it slows too much and smashes into the planet – too short, and it won’t get captured, and will fly off to somewhere in the solar system.
Just How Risky is the Engine Burn?
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