JUICE Space Mission of Europe to be launched in April 2023

The European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) has been confirmed for launch from the agency’s spaceport in French Guiana in April 2023.

The mission will explore the large, frigid worlds that orbit Jupiter, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

It marks Europe’s biggest space venture yet, spanning a decade of precise monitoring and calculations to send the JUICE spacecraft into orbit not only around three large moons, but also the largest planet in the solar system.

The mission won’t arrive at Jupiter for eight years.

Once launched on the Ariane 5 rocket, JUICE will perform several flybys of the Earth, the Moon and Venus to sling the craft towards Jupiter.

It will arrive at the gas giant midway through 2031 where it will begin 35 flybys of the three moons and then eventually swoop in on Ganymede – the largest of Jupiter’s satellites – in a final attempt to peer beneath the surface and study whether it could support simple lifeforms.

Its final act will be to plummet into Ganymede at the end of 2035.

JUICE’s ‘handlers’ at the European Space Agency will monitor the craft’s voyage using an expansive network of deep space antennas across Europe, Australia and South America controlled from its space operations centre in Germany.