Takeoff is scheduled from the European Space Agency’s base in Kourou, where Portugal will be represented by the head of the Portuguese Space Agency, Ricardo Conde, at 1:15 pm (Lisbon time) aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket.
The mission, which was scheduled to launch in 2022, has flight engineer Bruno Souza as director of flight operations and antenna engineer Luis Rouleau in phase testing two of the 10 satellites. Both have worked for ESA for over 10 years.
The satellite includes components made by Portuguese companies LusoSpace, Active Space Technologies, Deimos Engenharia, FHP – Frezite High Performance and an instrument developed in part by Efacec and LIP – Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics, for which researcher Patricia Gonsalves was responsible.
Juice (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer, Explorer of the Icy Moons of Jupiter) will study the largest planet in the solar system and its moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, where scientists think liquid water may be present (an essential ingredient for life as we know it) beneath surface ice crusts. .
The satellite should reach the gas giant in eight years, in July 2031, make 35 close trips to the icy moons and reach Ganymede in December 2034.
This will be the first time that a satellite has orbited another planet’s moon.
The ESA mission, which cost about 1.6 billion euros in cooperation with the North American (NASA), Japanese (JAXA) and Israel (ISA) space agencies in terms of hardware and ‘hardware’, is expected to end in September. 2035.
The first scientific data is expected in 2032.
Ricardo Conde, head of the Portuguese space agency Lusa, revealed to Space, Lusa, that the European mission that will place a satellite in orbit of Jupiter has won the Portuguese companies involved in contracts worth 5.4 million euros.
This official confirmed that the mission represented a “confirmation” for the Portuguese industry, resulting in a “contractual volume” of 5.4 million euros for the companies involved.
According to Portugal’s head of space, it is the “contract mission” for the European Space Agency (ESA) and a “waiting room for broader participation” for Portugal in other missions.
“The capabilities developed for this mission can be replicated in another,” he stressed.
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