JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) is the first large mission of the Space Vision 2015-2025 program of the European Space Agency. Its purpose is to study the atmosphere and magnetosphere of Jupiter and its moons of Europe, Callisto and Ganymede. It is thought that under their icy surface there is liquid water that can be habitable environment. The satellite will be equipped with the largest 97 sqm solar panels in the history of interplanetary missions. The size results from the long distance from the Sun and the power demand (about 850W) of the satellite equipped with 10 state-of-the-art research instruments.
Transport around facility, functional and vibration tests, as well as the final assembly of these large solar panels, will be possible thanks to the equipment of Sener Aeroespacial. It is responsible for the design and manufacturing of a Support Frame (mechanism for elevation, leveling, rotation and transport of solar panels with a vibration adapter) and supervision over the manufacturing of four types of devices designed by the client, Airbus Defense and Space.
This is another contract of Sener Aeroespacial in the JUICE mission. The company is also responsible for designing, manufacturing, testing and installing an important element – a 10-meter magnetometer boom used to place scientific instruments away from the satellite to avoid magnetic interference. Moreover, Sener Aeroespacial executes the entire Medium-Gain Antenna (MGAMA) that will back up the satellite’s High-Gain Antenna in order to guarantee communication between JUICE and the Earth all times. The medium-gain antenna will be also used in mission’s science experiments. Sener Aeroespacial’s work comprises the antenna reflector, the pointing mechanism and the control electronics.
The JUICE mission has a rigid start date – mid-2022. It results from the mutual position of Earth, Venus and Mars and the use of gravitational assistants around them. The satellite will cover a distance of 600 million kilometers and should be in orbit of Jupiter in October 2029. JUICE will be operating there for at least three years.