Monday, November 14, 2011

JUNO Mission Status Update

As of November 11, 2011 Juno was approximately 32.3 million miles (52 million kilometers) from Earth. The spacecraft is traveling at a velocity of 62,800 miles per hour (101,100 kilometers per hour) relative to the sun. Velocity relative to Earth is 26,800 miles per hour (43,100 kilometers per hour). One-way travel time for a signal from Earth is approximately 2 minutes 54 seconds. The spacecraft is in excellent health and is operating nominally. Two of Juno’s instruments are currently turned on: Waves and the Magnetometer experiment.

During the period of October 20 - 26 the Juno team completed the low-voltage checkout for the JADE instrument. This completes the final low voltage checkouts for Juno’s suite of instruments, allowing the mission controllers to undertake high voltage checkouts for the JADE, JEDI and UVS instruments in the coming weeks.

The JEDI instrument’s three detectors successfully deployed their doors during this period — a one-time spacecraft event. Each JEDI detector is shaped something like a hockey puck with its curved side split open to form a door through which charged particles can enter. Juno’s JEDI instrument is similar in its configuration to the New Horizons spacecraft’s Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation, or PEPSSI, instrument.

During the period of Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, the mission operations team completed a set of calibration activities for pointing the spacecraft’s high gain antenna and switched to using that antenna as Juno’s primary communications link. Juno has a total of five antennas, and the mission team chooses which one to use as the primary at each point in the mission based on Juno’s orientation in space and its distance from both earth and the sun. … juno/main/index.html

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