Emily LakdawallaJun 16, 2016

Timeline of Juno Jupiter Orbit Insertion events

Today NASA held a press briefing and released a press kit for the impending orbit insertion of the Juno spacecraft. The 35-minute orbit insertion burn is scheduled to begin July 5 at 03:18 UTC (July 4 20:18, PDT). Juno gets one chance at a successful orbit insertion; if it overshoots Jupiter, it goes into an inclined solar orbit that likely won't ever return to the giant planet. At the briefing today, project manager Rick Nybakken said that it would take at least 20 minutes of rocket firing for Juno to enter orbit successfully, and 30 minutes for it to enter a good science orbit. If something happens during orbit insertion, the spacecraft has an auto-restart capability that will allow it to try to recover from an anomaly and continue firing the rocket within 500 seconds.

Following is a timeline of orbit-insertion-related events that I cobbled together from the JPL media schedule and the press kit. All times are Earth Received Time; the actual events unfold 48 minutes earlier than these times, according to the spacecraft clock. A live broadcast will take place on NASA TV during orbit insertion. I'll be reporting live (mostly on Twitter) from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Go Juno!

EventTime (PDT)Time (EDT)Time (UTC)
Open main engine cover; main engine auto-restart enabled20 Jun20 Jun20 Jun
Open main engine propellant valves27 Jun27 Jun27 Jun
Pressurize propulsion system28 Jun28 Jun28 Jun
Science instruments turned off29 Jun29 Jun29 Jun
Spacecraft computer begins running orbit insertion command sequence30 Jun30 Jun30 Jun
Mission overview news briefing30 Jun 10:0030 Jun 13:0030 Jun 17:00
Mission outreach briefing30 Jun 11:0030 Jun 14:0030 Jun 18:00
Pre-orbit-insertion briefing4 Jul 09:004 Jul 12:004 Jul 16:00
Begin transmitting tones; switch telecom to medium gain antenna4 Jul 18:134 Jul 21:135 Jul 01:13
Begin slow, first turn of 15 degrees away from the Sun, toward orbit insertion attitude4 Jul 18:164 Jul 21:165 Jul 01:16
Begin fast, large turn to orbit insertion attitude4 Jul 19:284 Jul 22:285 Jul 02:28
NASA TV broadcast begins4 Jul 19:304 Jul 22:305 Jul 02:30
Switch to toroidal low gain antenna4 Jul 19:414 Jul 22:415 Jul 02:41
Begin nutation damping activity to remove remaining wobble4 Jul 19:454 Jul 22:455 Jul 02:45
Begin fine-tune adjustment of the orbit insertion attitude4 Jul 19:504 Jul 22:505 Jul 02:50
Begin approx. 5-minute spin-up from 2 to 5 rotations per minute4 Jul 19:564 Jul 22:565 Jul 02:56
Jupiter orbit insertion burn begins4 Jul 20:184 Jul 23:185 Jul 03:18
Start 35-minute main engine burn4 Jul 20:184 Jul 23:185 Jul 03:18
Capture into Jupiter orbit achieved4 Jul 20:384 Jul 23:385 Jul 03:38
Jupiter orbit insertion burn ends4 Jul 20:534 Jul 23:535 Jul 03:53
Close propulsion pressurant valves, ending burn4 Jul 20:534 Jul 23:535 Jul 03:53
Begin approx. 5-minute spin-down from 5 to 2 rotations per minute4 Jul 20:554 Jul 23:555 Jul 03:55
Begin turn to sun-pointed attitude4 Jul 21:075 Jul 00:075 Jul 04:07
Switch telecom to medium gain antenna4 Jul 21:115 Jul 00:115 Jul 04:11
Begin transmitting telemetry (it could take 20 minutes or more to lock onto telemetry signal)4 Jul 21:165 Jul 00:165 Jul 04:16
Post-orbit-insertion briefing4 Jul 22:005 Jul 01:005 Jul 05:00
Capture Orbit Phase begins4 Jul 22:485 Jul 01:485 Jul 05:48

There will be no images taken during orbit insertion, because all of the instruments will be turned off. Read my JunoCam explainer for more about that.

Juno close to Jupiter
Juno close to Jupiter Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

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