First Solar-Powered Mission to Jupiter Flying 3d-Printed Parts
posted on Jul 4, 2016
Developed by Lockheed Martin, the Juno spacecraft is the first solar-powered spacecraft to operate at Jupiter and holds the record as the farthest spacecraft from the sun to operate on solar power. To power the spacecraft’s computer, instruments and heaters, it has three 30-foot long solar arrays with a combined 18,698 individual solar cells covering an area of 535 square feet. At Earth, the arrays would be capable of generating over 14 kilowatts, yet will provide only about 500 watts at Jupiter.
Here are some other interesting facts about the mission:
- Juno is the first solar-powered mission to Jupiter and is the farthest spacecraft to operate from the sun on solar power.
- By using nine instruments to conduct gravity, magnetic and atmospheric investigations, Juno will improve our understanding of the solar system by helping us understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter.
- One-year science operations with 33 elliptical orbits, and purposely de-orbit into Jupiter in early 2018 to protect Jupiter’s moons.
- Juno is the first planetary spacecraft to fly 3D-printed parts. There are a dozen 3D-printed wave guide brackets made out of titanium alloy.
*Source: Lockheed Martin Corporation