Main Engine Cut Off

Juno Gets an Extension

NASA has approved an update to Juno’s science operations until July 2021. This provides for an additional 41 months in orbit around Jupiter and will enable Juno to achieve its primary science objectives.  Juno is in 53-day orbits rather than 14-day orbits as initially planned because of a concern about valves on the spacecraft’s fuel system. This longer orbit means that it will take more time to collect the needed science data.

Juno is on its 13th orbit right now, so an additional 41 months allows Juno to make 37 orbits—the exact amount originally planned. So this extension isn’t an extension _past_ the original science mission, it’s an extension to make it through the original science mission.

Great news for Juno, nonetheless, which is in good health, apparently with a less-harsh-than-predicted radiation environment in its 53-day orbit.