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3… 2… 1… lift off!

ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) will launch in April 2023 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on an Ariane 5 rocket.

Just 28 minutes after liftoff, the Ariane 5 will release Juice into space. But the spacecraft will not be left to fend for itself – five minutes later ESA mission controllers will start receiving signals via ground stations and assume control of the spacecraft.

Ariane 5 has been the workhorse of Europe’s independent access to space since its first launch in 1996. Since then, over 100 of these rockets have lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport, carrying precious cargo including six ESA space science missions. Juice will be the last ESA mission to launch on an Ariane 5 before Ariane 6 takes over later in 2023.

Did you spot the special piece of artwork on the nose (fairing) of this Ariane 5? This drawing was the winning entry to the ‘JUICE Up Your Rocket!’ competition, which invited children from all over the world to create a work of art related to Juice.

More information on Juice’s launch and deployment timeline.

More information on Ariane 5’s legacy of launching science missions.

More information about Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, 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.

ESA (acknowledgement: ATG Medialab)

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