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Watch NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Enter Jupiter’s Orbit

5 Jul 2016, 03:06 UTC
Watch NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Enter Jupiter’s Orbit
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NASA is set to celebrate Independence Day with an orbital insertion.

After a nearly 5-year journey, NASA’s Juno spacecraft is scheduled to reach its destination with a planned orbital insertion at Jupiter on July 4. Juno will become only the second spacecraft in history to orbit Jupiter, and it will be the first to conduct a polar orbit of the giant planet.

Once Juno has been captured by Jupiter’s gravity, it will proceed on a 20-month primary mission to study the planet’s composition, its core and its magnetic field. Over the course of its mission, Juno will conduct 37 polar orbits, coming as close as 3,100 miles from the planet’s cloud tops. Juno will become the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter’s poles, providing valuable new insight into the planet.

Juno was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket on August 5, 2011, and will become only the second spacecraft in history to orbit the largest planet in the solar system. Although several spacecraft have conducted flybys of the gas giant throughout history, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft was the only one to actually orbit Jupiter, studying the planet from 1995 until 2003.

Interestingly, this is not the first time a NASA spacecraft has ...

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