Launched on 5th August 2011, JUpiter Near-polar Orbiter (JUNO) was launched on a journey to Jupiter on board a United Launch Alliance Atlas V in the 551 configuration. It was launched on a 5 year journey to seek scientific details of the Jupiter planet. JUNO’s arrival and insertion into orbit of Jupiter was a success on 4th July 2016, and is now expected to the begin the search of useful data from this area of the solar system.
JUNO is a spacecraft a part of NASA’s New Frontiers mission, and was on a trajectory to Jupiter. The spacecraft will have travelled over a total distance of roughly 2.8 billion kilometres by the time it has entered orbit around Jupiter. The spacecraft has entered into a highly elliptical Polar Orbit of the planet, and at this vantage point, the spacecraft will study Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field and the planet’s polar magnetosphere.
JUNO is only the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter and is following in the footsteps of Galileo probe which orbited and sought data from 1995-2003. The spacecraft successfully performed its orbit insertion burn on 4th July 2016 and slowed the spacecraft enough to allow capture in a highly elliptical polar orbit. It will there verify systems and call back to Earth for controllers to do system health checks. It will then do 53-day orbits for a couple of months before performing another burn which should put JUNO in a 14-day Polar Orbit.
This is great news for NASA and the JUNO program and we wish them well on this mission!