The Flight Readiness Review was completed this morning ahead of next week's launch of the Juno mission to Jupiter. The session went smoothly, ending with officials formally setting Aug. 5 as the liftoff date for the spacecraft on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA's Launch Services Program is overseeing the launch, while the mission is managed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Key things to know about Juno
Spacecraft scheduled to launch between Aug. 5 and Aug. 26, 2011
Five-year cruise to Jupiter, arriving July 2016
Spacecraft will orbit Jupiter for about one year (33 orbits)
Mission ends with de-orbit into Jupiter
Juno will improve our understanding of our solar system’s beginnings by revealing the origin and evolution of Jupiter.
Specifically, Juno will…
Determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which helps determine which planet formation theory is correct (or if new theories are needed)
Look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties
Map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet’s deep structure
Explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles, especially the auroras – Jupiter’s northern and southern lights – providing new insights about how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere.