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NASA’s Juno Mission: First Human Made Spacecraft Intersects Into Jupiter Orbit

The Fastest-ever NASA’s Spacecraft, Juno enters around the Jupiter orbit. The human made spacecraft will plunge into the thick atmosphere of the biggest planet in the solar system. As per the Juno Mission Team members, the spacecraft which fired the main rocket engine late Monday enter the orbit and the gravity of the giant planet accelerates it with the estimated top speed of about 165,000 mph (265,000 km/h) relative to Earth.

The Juno mission worth $1.1 billion was launched in August 2011. The solar-powered research is equipped with 9 science instruments. These instruments are used to draw the gravitational and magnetic fields of Jupiter and to understand the planet’s interior structure. Team members said that these observations should help them to better understand the formation and evolution of giant planet.

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“I don’t think we’ve had any human[-made] object that’s moved that fast, that’s left the Earth,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio during a news conference last week.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers have passed a command to Juno to initiate its autopilot mode. Juno’s engine, a Leros 1b was built by Moog-ISP in England. “If that doesn’t all go just right, we fly past Jupiter,” said Bolton. “Everything’s riding on it.”

On the successful entry of Juno into 53.5 day orbit around Jupiter, researchers will commission the science instruments to study the planet for next few months. However the actual scientific action will not take until October. Juno is scheduled to perform another engine burn over 22 minutes on Oct 19. This is to shift into a highly elliptical 14-day orbit around Jupiter that will take it within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers).

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Over the course of Time Juno will enter 30 orbits of the giant before its endless sleep when it dives into the planet’s atmosphere in February 2018. This end is designed to prevent the chance of contaminating the ocean-harboring Jupiter moon Europa.

Undocking, Reentry of DRAGON spacecraft is scheduled for 11th May 2016

NASA scheduled SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft departure from International Space station for 11th May, 2016 from resupply mission CRS-8. Launched 8th April on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Dragon is the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth undamaged.

The Dragon launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) for the company’s 8th NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission, was docked to International space station on 09th April 2016. The Cargo spacecraft delivered about 7,000 pounds of science & research investigations including inflammable BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity module) on April 10th.

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 NASA officially announced the return date of the Dragon on 5th May 2016 and unveiled that cargo spacecraft will be undocked on 11th May 2016 from Harmony Module using Canadarm2 robotic arm, which will be operated at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The skilled robotics controllers will carefully guide the Dragon into place and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), Expedition 47 robotic arm operator will execute the command for release at 9:18 a.m.

Before being commanded to begin deorbit burn, Dragon at 2 p.m will fire its thrusters three times to move to a safe zone from the space station. The pressurized section of the spacecraft, referred often as capsule will splash down in the Pacific Ocean about 2:55 p.m. NASA Television will broadcast the departure of Dragon from 9:00 a.m, EDT but the deorbit burn and the splash down will not be on covered.

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NASA’s recovery team which reach Dragon in three boats will retrieve the capsule from the Pacific Ocean and about 3,700 pounds of payload will be carried back to laboratories for further study.

Dragon cargo includes samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities sponsored by the NASA experiments and Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). The spacecraft also will return the final batch of human research samples from the one-year crew mission.

In case of unfavourable weather conditions in the Pacific, the backup departure and splashdown date is anticipated to Saturday i.e., 14th May 2016.

NASA live broadcast from undocking will be available on: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

On picture above: Dragon CRS-8 seen from Cupola module where Canadarm2 is operated.


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