The engineering expertise of Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver has produced NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Juno, an orbiter headed for Jupiter on August 5, 2011, aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551.
Assembled and tested at Lockheed Martin, Juno brings the hard work of many scientists and engineers into physical reality.
Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio is the principle investigator for this mission.
Scheduled to arrive in Jupiter’s orbit in 2016, Juno will be tasked to investigate the “origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere” of the giant gas planet. For one year, Juno will orbit over the poles, gathering information about Jupiter’s temperature, magnetics, atmospheric water content, gravity field and auroras for scientists on Earth .
Lockheed Martin works in partnership with mission investigators and science teams to produce equipment and spacecraft to ensure that the goals of each mission are met and any challenges are overcome.
Gary Napier, Communications Manager for Lockheed Martin, told Examiner, “NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will provide their world-class navigation support, but all of the spacecraft commands will be developed and tested by Lockheed Martin at the MSA [Mission Support Area]. The commands will be sent to the spacecraft from the MSA through the Deep Space Network (DSN) with antennas located around the globe.”
The Lockheed Martin MSA is located south of Littleton, Colorado at the Waterton facilities.
Juno was transported in the Air Force C-17 Globemaster III to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, April 8, 2011, from Buckley Air Force Base by Lockheed Martin. Launch will take place from Cape Canaveral.
This mission to Jupiter is part of NASA’s New Frontiers program. The objective of New Frontiers is “to explore the solar system with frequent, medium-class spacecraft missions that will conduct high-quality, focused scientific investigations designed to enhance our understanding of the solar system.”
Juno is solar powered and equipped with nine instrument suites and 26 individual sensors for taking readings on everything from Jupiter’s interior to electron and ion energy.
The mission timeline reported by Lockheed Martin are given as follows:
*Start of ATLO (Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations), April 1, 2010. (Complete)
*Launch date, August 5, 2011
*Earth flyby: October 2013
*Arrival at Jupiter, July 2016
*End of mission, October 2017
Lockheed Martin is currently flying three other missions for NASA: the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey and the Spitzer spacecraft.
attributions: Lockheed Martin Space Systems press release and Gary Napier (Sensing and Exploration Systems-Planetary Exploration, GOES-R of Lockheed Martin)