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Mission Scenario and Operations

The JUICE spacecraft will be launched in June 2022 by Ariane 5 and will use Venus and Earth gravity assists in its 7.6 years cruise to Jupiter. After the orbit insertion in January 2030 the spacecraft will perform a 2.5 year tour in the Jovian system focusing on continuous observations of Jupiter's atmosphere and magnetosphere.

During the tour, gravity assists with Callisto and Ganymede will shape the trajectory.  Two targeted Europa flybys are included focusing on composition of the non water-ice material, and the first subsurface sounding of an icy moon. Additional, Callisto gravity assists will be also used to raise the orbit inclination to almost 30° and to enable observations of the Jupiter polar regions. The frequent Callisto flybys will enable unique remote observations of the moon and in situ measurements in its vicinity. The mission will culminate in a dedicated eight months orbital tour around Ganymede during which the spacecraft will perform detailed investigation of the moon and its environment and will eventually impact on Ganymede.

JUICE timeline

Illustrative timeline of the JUICE baseline mission. Credit: ESA

Science phases of the JUICE baseline mission

Phase

Duration

Science priorities

1 Cruise/ Interplanetary transfer 7.6 years
Jupiter Tour
2 Jupiter equatorial phase #1/Transfer to Callisto 11 months Jovian atmosphere structure, composition, and dynamics. Jovian magnetosphere as a fast magnetic rotator and giant accelerator. Remote observations of the inner Jovian system.
3 Europa flybys 36 days Composition of selected targets with emphasis on non-ice components.
Geology and subsurface of the most active areas.
Local plasma environment.
4 Reduction of Vinf / Jupiter high latitude phase with Callisto 260 days Jupiter atmosphere at high latitudes.
Plasma and fields out of equatorial plane.
Callisto internal structure, surface and exosphere.
Remote observations of Ganymede, Europa, Io, and small moons.
5 Jupiter equatorial phase #2/ Transfer to Ganymede 11 months Interactions of the Ganymede magnetic field with that of Jupiter.
Jovian atmosphere and magnetosphere as in phase #2
Ganymede Tour
6 Elliptic #1 30 days Global geological mapping.
Search for past and present activity.
Global compositional mapping.
Local plasma environment and its interactions with Jovian magnetosphere.
7 High altitude (5000 km) circular orbit 90 days
8 Elliptic #2 30 days
9 Medium altitude (500 km) circular orbit 102 days Extent of the ocean and its relation to the deep interior.
Ice shell structure including distribution of subsurface water.
Geology, composition and evolution of selected targets with very high resolution.
Global topography.
Local plasma environment.
Sinks and sources of the ionosphere and exosphere.
Deep interior.
10 Low altitude (200 km) circular orbit 30 days

The total mission duration is close to 11 years, of which about 3.5 years would be spent in the Jupiter system. With the currently envisaged launch opportunities in 2022 and 2023, the nominal mission would end in June 2033 and December 2034, respectively.

Ground Segment

The JUICE mission would be planned and operated by the ESA ground segment consisting of the Mission Operations Centre (MOC) and the Science Operations Centre (SOC). A single ground station, capable of both X- and K-band operations at the time of the mission, is assumed for the JUICE science operations.

(For more detailed information about  the JUICE mission scenario and operations, please consult the JUICE assessment study report (Yellow Book) - see link in right-hand menu.)


Last Update: 16 March 2012

For further information please contact: SciTech.editorial@esa.int

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