Juno’s first engine burn perfected the spacecraft’s trajectory as it inches closer to Jupiter, the giant of our solar system.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft is set to arrive at its destination on July 4th, at exactly 8:18 p.m PDT. As the probe inches closer to Jupiter, the mission team is closely monitoring every step of the way. The engine burn performed on February 3rd was one of the necessary maneuvers to thrust NASA’s Juno spacecraft further on its trajectory.
Juno’s first engine burn perfected the spacecraft’s trajectory. During the fine-tuning maneuver, the Juno spacecraft burned 1.3 pounds of fuel. This resulted in the probe’s speed being altered by 0.7 mph. At the time of the engine burn, NASA’s Juno spacecraft was located approximately 51 million miles from Jupiter.
A second engine burn is scheduled for May 31st according to official NASA statements. Scott Bolton, the principal investigator with the Juno mission at the Southwest Research Institute – San Antonio, declared:
“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”.
The Juno mission was launched with great excitement in August 2011. NASA’s Juno spacecraft will map the magnetic fields of Jupiter in great detail. In addition, the gravitational fields and the giant’s formation, structure and evolution are of great interest to scientists. The Jupiter probe will maintain different courses during its orbiting mission. Juno will orbit Jupiter a total of 33 times. The closest orbit will be at 3,100 miles from Jupiter’s surface and it will be reached every 14 days.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft is powered by its three solar panels, each measuring 30 feet in length. Overall, the three solar panels pack 18,698 solar cells. Taking into consideration the poorly lit environment surrounding the solar system’s giant, these technological perks are much needed to keep the probe running. Jupiter orbits the Sun from a distance five times greater than that between the Sun and our planet.
The solar powered probe also broke a record in January. NASA’s Juno spacecraft is now the holder of the record for the largest covered distance using solar power.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia