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NASA readies Juno for Jupiter mission

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NASA's Juno spacecraft. Photo: NASA.

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA (BNS): NASA's Juno space probe Wednesday moved on to the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The solar-powered, Jupiter-bound spacecraft was secured into place on top of its rocket for an August launch preparation.

Juno will arrive at Jupiter in July 2016 and orbit its poles 33 times to learn more about the gas giant's interior, atmosphere and aurora, a release by the space agency said.

"We're about to start our journey to Jupiter to unlock the secrets of the early solar system. After eight years of development, the spacecraft is ready for its important mission," Scott Bolton, the mission's principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, was quoted as saying in the news release.

Juno is currently installed on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551- the most powerful Atlas rocket ever made.

NASA has already begun a final flurry of checks and tests along with an on-pad functional test. The test is designed to confirm that the spacecraft is healthy after the fueling, encapsulation and transport operations.

The launch period for Juno opens Aug 5, 2011, and extends through Aug 26. For an Aug 5 liftoff, the launch window opens at 11:34 a.m. EDT and remains open through 12:43 EDT, according to the report.

Tags:

NASA  Juno  Spacecraft  Jupiter  
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