Science and Exploration

Juice Spacecraft Unpacked At Europe’s Spaceport In French Guiana

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
February 15, 2023
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Juice Spacecraft Unpacked At Europe’s Spaceport In French Guiana
Juice Unpacking In French Guiana

ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, being unpacked at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana following its 9 February 2023 arrival from Airbus Toulouse, in preparation for final checks and fuelling ahead of its Ariane 5 launch.

Juice is humanity’s next bold mission to the outer Solar System. It will make detailed observations of gas giant Jupiter and its three large ocean-bearing moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. This ambitious mission will characterise these moons with a powerful suite of remote sensing, geophysical and in situ instruments to discover more about these compelling destinations as potential habitats for past or present life.

Juice will monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the Universe.

Juice launches on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou in April 2023. It has an eight year cruise with flybys of Earth and Venus to slingshot it to Jupiter. It will make 35 flybys of the three large moons while orbiting Jupiter, before changing orbits to Ganymede.

Juice is a mission under ESA leadership with contributions from NASA, JAXA and the Israeli Space Agency. It is the first Large-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme.


SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.