The European Space Agency's JUICE mission has successfully launched on its way to Jupiter.

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The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer was set to launch on 13 April 2023, but a lightning risk caused the launch to be delayed to 14 April at 12:14 UTC / 13:14 BST / 14:14 CEST

A successful launch was then completed on time.

At the time of launch, JUICE was 8 eight years from its final destination.

The mission will explore Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, and its icy Galilean moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

Find out more about the science in our guide to the JUICE mission.

Artist's impression of the JUICE mission exploring Jupiter's moons. Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab, Getty Images
Artist's impression of the JUICE mission exploring Jupiter's moons. Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab, Getty Images

These moons are thought to host subsurface oceans, meaning they are prime locations in the Solar System to search for habitable conditions and the signs of life.

JUICE will swoop past Callisto, Ganymede and Europa before inserting into orbit around Ganymede in 2034.

A view of Ganymede captured by NASA's Galileo probe, 26 June 1996. Credit: NASA/JPL
A view of Ganymede captured by NASA's Galileo probe, 26 June 1996. Credit: NASA/JPL

JUICE mission launch times

JUICE launch times

All times are in UTC on 14 April 2023 and supplied by the European Space Agency.

  • 12:14 - JUICE launches atop its Ariane 5 rocket
  • 12:42 - JUICE separates from the Ariane 5 upper stage
  • 12:51 - Earliest time ESA scientists expect to receive JUICE signal
  • 13:55 - Expected completion of solar array deployment
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How to re-watch the JUICE launch online

You can rewatch the JUICE launch via the window below, courtesy of the European Space Agency's YouTube channel.

Authors

Iain Todd BBC Sky at Night Magazine
Iain ToddScience journalist

Iain Todd is BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Content Editor. He fell in love with the night sky when he caught his first glimpse of Orion, aged 10.

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