After traveling for five years and 1.7 billion miles, NASA’s Juno Mission has successfully entered into Jupiter’s orbit. Confirmation of a successful engine burn and orbit insertion was received on the fourth of July at 8:53 PM PST by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The data was received by NASA’s Deep Space Network antennas in Goldstone, California and Canberra, Australia.
Over the past few weeks, Juno crossed the strong magnetic field of Jupiter and entered through the northern pole at the weakest point of magnetism, to achieve successful orbit insertion. For the next 53.4 days, Juno will be parked in orbit at Jupiter as final testing and calibrations are made. Then, around October Juno will activate the thrusters again and accelerate into a 14 day orbit to gather data more quickly.
The spacecraft is equipped with nine different instruments to measure radio, microwave, visible and ultraviolet light frequencies, as well as particle sensors and magnetometers. Protected by a 400-pound 1/2″ thick titanium vault, the instruments will gather data that will be sent back to Earth every 48 minutes and help scientists understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter.
The Juno mission has set historic firsts and broken records. According to Guinness World Records, Juno set its first major record in January of 2016 when it became the Most Distant Solar-powered Spacecraft passing the 791 million km mark from the sun. Shortly thereafter, on July fourth, Juno broke another major record as the Fastest Spacecraft in history as it entered into the massive gravity well of Jupiter accelerating the spacecraft to a speed of 265,000 km/h or 165,000 mph. In addition, with over a dozen 3-D printed wave guide brackets on board, Juno is the first planetary spacecraft to fly 3-d printed parts.
The mission is scheduled to conclude on February 20, 2018 but you can keep up with the mission progress by visiting: http://www.nasa.gov/juno