On Friday, April 14, 2023 at 09:14 am local time, an Ariane 5 launcher, operated by French Arianespace, successfully lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying the European Space Agency (ESA) JUICE space probe.
The spacecraft, built by Airbus Defence and Space for ESA, will carry out Europe’s first mission to Jupiter. It will spend at least three years making detailed observations of the planet’s icy moons: Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, which will arrived in july 2031. JUICE will study the moons as potential habitats for life, addressing two key questions: what are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life, and how does the solar system work?
Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace, said: “Arianespace is honored to have been entrusted with this launch, the first European mission to Jupiter, and to play a part in expanding our understanding of the solar system and the necessary conditions for the emergence of life. In preparing for this mission, we have worked hand in hand with ESA, Airbus Defence and Space, ArianeGroup, and French space agency CNES. I take this opportunity to thank all the teams who have given so much for 10 years to bring us to today’s successful result. And good luck to JUICE for the incredible journey it is about to embark on!”
“With the successful launch of the JUICE space probe, Ariane 5 has once again made its contribution to European space history. This exceptional mission benefited twice over from ArianeGroup’s expertise: we not only built and prepared Ariane 5 for this mission, but we are also involved in the JUICE spacecraft as we developed, supplied, and tested the entire propulsion system which will enable the probe to make its eight-year journey to Jupiter. I want to thank the teams from ArianeGroup and Arianespace, together with all our European partners, for this latest success of the Ariane launcher. Our launcher’s high reliability is due to the unfailing cooperation between the industry, ESA, and CNES, the guarantee of Europe’s independent access to space,” said Martin Sion, CEO of ArianeGroup.
The propulsion system for the JUICE spacecraft was developed, built, and integrated in Germany by ArianeGroup’s Orbital Propulsion teams, and comprises the 400 N main engine to be used for Jupiter orbit injection, 20 small thrusters, and two titanium propellant tanks.
After this mission, one Ariane 5 launch remains before Ariane 6 takes up the baton, supporting Europe’s institutional missions and meeting the rapidly growing needs of the commercial market.
The Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher is an ESA program carried out in cooperation between public institutions and industry across 12 European partner countries.
ArianeGroup is the lead contractor for the development and production of Ariane 5, as well as being responsible for launcher preparation operations up to lift-off. As prime contractor for Ariane 5 and Ariane 6, in charge of development and production, ArianeGroup is at the head of a vast industrial network of more than 600 companies, including 350 small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). ArianeGroup delivers a flight-ready launcher on the launch pad to its subsidiary Arianespace, which markets and operates Ariane 5 from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. During launch campaigns, Arianespace works closely with the French space agency (CNES), the design authority for Ariane 5 and responsible for the satellite preparation facilities and the launch base.