The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reports that the Juno interplanetary station made a lengthy maneuver without which the mission was threatened with completion.
Recall that the Juno is studying Jupiter – the largest planet in the solar system. The device was launched in August 2011, and it reached the gas giant in the summer of 2016.
Initially, the station was launched into a 53-day orbit. It was assumed that then the device will make 30 revolutions around the planet, each of which should have taken 14 earth days. But during the tests revealed problems associated with the operation of the valve system. Therefore, the station remained in its original 53-day orbit, making periodic rendezvous with Jupiter.
Another such rapprochement will take place on November 3. Moreover, during this flight, the station was supposed to be in the shadow of the gas giant for 12 hours, which would lead to the impossibility of generating energy by solar panels. In this situation, the on-board batteries can be completely discharged, and the temperature drops to a critical point. As a result, the station may simply shut down.
Therefore, experts decided to use shunting engines to change orbital speed by 203 km / h. This will allow to jump over the shadow of the gas giant during the rapprochement with Jupiter on November 3.
It is noted that shunting engines worked for 10.5 hours – an extremely long time for installations of this type. At the same time, 73 kg of fuel was consumed.