Lockheed Martin shipped NASA's Juno spacecraft to Kennedy Space Center, Fla. on April 8. The vehicle will undergo four months of testing and processing in preparation for its launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 vehicle in early August. During the past year, the spacecraft was assembled and tested at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company facilities near Denver, Colo.
Juno is NASA's next mission to Jupiter and is the second of the agency's New Frontiers missions. Scheduled to arrive at Jupiter in July 2016, the spacecraft will spend a little more than a year orbiting over the poles of the gas giant while studying the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
"From the earliest stages of this mission, we've worked closely with the mission's principal investigator Scott Bolton and his science team to understand the challenges of their science objectives," said Jim Crocker, vice president of Sensing and Exploration Systems at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. "Then, in close partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, our team designed and built a unique and amazing spacecraft that will garner that highly-sought science while dealing with the harsh radiation environment of Jupiter."
The 3,600-pound spacecraft was transported on an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport plane in an environmentally controlled container. The C-17 and its precious cargo touched down at 7:55 p.m. EDT at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility. Juno was then transported to Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Fla. where it will go through final processing.
"Delivering Juno to Kennedy Space Center marks an important milestone in the mission," said Tim Gasparrini, Juno program manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. "The spacecraft has undergone a rigorous environmental test program in Denver but we still have plenty of work to do as our team focuses on processing the spacecraft for a successful launch."
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute at San Antonio, Texas. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, Colo., is building the spacecraft. The Italian Space Agency in Rome is contributing an infrared spectrometer instrument and a portion of the radio science experiment.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 132,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion