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How to watch JUICE mission launch to Jupiter’s icy moons

[UPDATE: The original target launch date of Thursday, April 13, was called off due to poor weather conditions at the launch site. The JUICE mission is now targeting the morning of Friday, April 14. Full details below.]

Juice launch to Jupiter

The European Space Agency (ESA) is making final preparations for the launch of a new spacecraft that will explore the icy moons of Jupiter. And you can watch the start of its epic voyage in real time.

Traveling aboard an Ariane 5 rocket, JUICE (JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer) will lift off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on Friday, April 14.

The goal of the JUICE mission is to make detailed observations of gas giant Jupiter and its three large ocean-bearing moons: Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. To do this, JUICE will use what ESA says are the “most powerful science instruments ever sent to the outer solar system.”

The explorer is set for an eight-year cruise that will include flybys of Earth and Venus that will slingshot it to Jupiter. Later, it will make 35 flybys of the three large moons while orbiting Jupiter and then switch to orbit Ganymede.

The spacecraft will experience multiple challenges that include radiation, extreme temperatures, and the strong gravitational pull of Jupiter, but the team behind the mission is as confident as it can be that everything will be OK.

“This ambitious mission will characterize these moons with a powerful suite of remote sensing, geophysical, and in situ instruments to discover more about these compelling destinations as potential habitats for past or present life,” ESA said on its website. “JUICE will monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation, and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the universe.”

You can learn more about the mission in the video below:

Juice’s odyssey of exploration

How to watch

ESA will live stream the launch and early stages of the mission when JUICE lifts off from the Spaceport facility on Friday, April 14.

The live stream will begin at 7:45 a.m. ET (4:45 a.m. PT), with the launch scheduled for half an hour later at 8:14 a.m. ET (5:14 a.m. PT.)

The separation of JUICE from the Ariane 5 upper stage is set to take place at 8:42 a.m. ET, with the deployment of the spacecraft’s solar array expected to finish at 9:55 a.m. ET.

You can watch the coverage using the player embedded at the top of this page or by visiting ESA’s YouTube channel.

Be sure to check ESA’s Twitter account for details on any late changes to the schedule.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
See highlights of the launch of the European JUICE spacecraft
ESA’s latest interplanetary mission, Juice, lifted off on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French 09:14 local time/14:14CEST on 14 April 2023 to begin its eight-year journey to Jupiter, where it will study in detail the gas giant planet’s three large ocean-bearing moons: Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

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An Ariane 5 rocket containing the Juice spacecraft on the launchpad at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on Thursday April 13 2023.

The launch of the European Space Agency (ESA)'s JUICE mission to the icy moons of Jupiter has been delayed by 24 hours due to weather conditions. Risk of lightning near the launch pad at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana meant that the launch was scrubbed around 10 minutes prior to the scheduled liftoff today, Thursday, April 13.

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Tomorrow will see the launch of the JUICE spacecraft, which will travel to the Jupiter system to investigate several of the moons there. The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, from the European Space Agency (ESA), will investigate three of Jupiter's biggest moons, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, and will discover whether these distant, icy worlds could be habitable.

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