NASA's Jupiter-Bound Juno Spacecraft Mated to Its Rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA's Juno spacecraft completed its last
significant terrestrial journey on Wednesday, with a 15-mile
(25-kilometer) trip from Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville,
Fla., to its launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The
solar-powered, Jupiter-bound spacecraft was secured into place on top
of its rocket at 10:42 a.m. EDT (7:42 a.m. PDT).

Juno will arrive at Jupiter in July 2016 and orbit its poles 33 times
to learn more about the gas giant's interior, atmosphere and aurora.
"We're about to start our journey to Jupiter to unlock the secrets of
the early solar system," said Scott Bolton, the mission's principal
investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
"After eight years of development, the spacecraft is ready for its
important mission."

Now that the Juno payload is atop the most powerful Atlas rocket ever
made -- the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 -- a final flurry of
checks and tests can begin and confirm that all is go for launch. The
final series of checks begins Wednesday with an on-pad functional
test. The test is designed to confirm that the spacecraft is healthy
after the fueling, encapsulation and transport operations.

"The on-pad functional test is the first of seven tests and reviews
that Juno and its flight team will undergo during the spacecraft's
last 10 days on Earth," said Jan Chodas, Juno's project manager at
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "There are
a number of remaining prelaunch activities that we still need to
focus on, but the team is really excited that the final days of
preparation, which we've been anticipating for years, are finally
here. We are ready to go."

The launch period for Juno opens Aug. 5, 2011, and extends through
Aug. 26. For an Aug. 5 liftoff, the launch window opens at 11:34 a.m.
EDT and remains open through 12:43 EDT.

JPL manages the Juno mission for principal investigator Scott Bolton.
The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed at
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed
Martin Space Systems of Denver built the spacecraft. Launch
management for the mission is the responsibility of NASA's Launch
Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. JPL
is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

More information about Juno is available at:





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