NASA's Juno spacecraft bounces back from glitch, performs trim maneuver

As per NASA, the Juno spacecraft at Jupiter has left safe mode and has successfully completed a minor burn of its thruster engines in preparation for its next close flyby of Jupiter.

Updated: Oct 27, 2016, 10:44 AM IST
NASA's Juno spacecraft bounces back from glitch, performs trim maneuver
Juno spacecraft/NASA

Washington: NASA’s Juno spacecraft that went into a protective 'safe mode' on October 18 has bounced back from the glitch, the US space agency said.

As per NASA, the Juno spacecraft at Jupiter has left safe mode and has successfully completed a minor burn of its thruster engines in preparation for its next close flyby of Jupiter.

Juno went into 'safe mode' on October 18 when a software performance monitor induced a reboot of the spacecraft's onboard computer.

"Juno exited safe mode as expected, is healthy and is responding to all our commands,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We anticipate we will be turning on the instruments in early November to get ready for our December flyby."

The team is still investigating the cause of the reboot and assessing two main engine check valves.

In preparation for that close flyby of Jupiter, Juno executed an orbital trim maneuver Tuesday at 11:51 a.m. PDT (2:51 p.m. EDT) using its smaller thrusters. The burn, which lasted just over 31 minutes, changed Juno's orbital velocity by about 2.6 metres per second and consumed about 3.6 kilograms of propellant.

Juno will perform its next science flyby of Jupiter on December 11, with time of closest approach to the gas giant occurring at 9:03 a.m. PDT (12:03 p.m. EDT).

The complete suite of Juno’s science instruments, as well as the JunoCam imager, will be collecting data during the upcoming flyby.

“We are all excited and eagerly anticipating this next pass close to Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “The science collected so far has been truly amazing."

The Juno spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 5, 2011, and arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet's cloud tops -- as close as about 4,100 kilometres.

During these flybys, Juno probes beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studies its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

(With IANS inputs)