The fourth of July is a big day for NASA, as its Juno spacecraft enters orbit around Jupiter. The spacecraft launched in 2011, so we’ve been waiting nearly five years for today’s big moment. We have several feeds available for you to watch what’s happening. The feed above is NASA TV’s live media feed. The big event, Juno’s arrival into Jupiter’s orbit, will be broadcast above starting at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. The Juno spacecraft’s 35-minute engine burn, when it “puts on the brakes” to enter Jupiter’s orbit, begins at approximately 11:18 p.m. Eastern. (To see photos that Juno has taken so far and more details about the mission, please see our story here.)
The schedule for the video above is listed below. (Please note: There is a slight discrepancy in times on NASA’S websites. Although most locations for NASA’s schedule list the start time as 10:30 p.m. Eastern, NASA’s TV schedule here has everything listed as happening one hour earlier.)
The live stream schedule is as follows:
- 6 to 11 a.m. Eastern: Live interviews about the Juno spacecraft’s entry into Jupiter’s orbit, with NASA scientists Jim Green and Diane Brown.
- 11 a.m.: Other NASA programming
- 12 p.m. Eastern: Final NASA media briefing on Juno
- 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Other programming by NASA
- 4 p.m. Eastern: Replay of the final NASA media briefing
- Other NASA programming
- 8 p.m. Eastern: Replay of final NASA media briefing
- Other programming
- 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern: LIVE coverage of Juno’s orbital insertion at Jupiter (NOTE: NASA TV lists the start time as being 9:30 p.m. Eastern, but NASA’s website and other locations have the start time listed as 10:30 p.m. Eastern)
- 1 a.m. Eastern: Post Juno orbital insertion briefing
If the feed above doesn’t work, NASA has another TV channel below, called NASA Public, with the same schedule:
If you’re still not completely sure what’s happening today, we’ll give you a quick explanation. The Juno spacecraft must enter a polar orbit before it can begin studying the gas giant up close. The craft will be speeding toward Jupiter and once it reaches about 165,000 mph, the craft will have to fire its engines (the engine burn) to slam on its brakes in time to enter orbit. The engines must fire for 35 minutes and burn 17,600 pounds of fuel in order to slow the craft enough to enter orbit. Juno will then stay in orbit for 18 months, studying magnetic fields, gravitational fields, and taking photos.
What happens if the engine burn doesn’t work? Juno will speed past Jupiter and it won’t have a second chance to lock into orbit.
How will mission control know if this works? Well, Juno’s main dish won’t be pointed at Earth during braking. Instead, mission control will follow the events through a series of tones that the probe’s low-gain antenna will send back to indicate everything’s working properly.
Other Options for Watching Juno’s Arrival Live
NASA is providing several other options for watching Juno’s arrival at Jupiter live, while it happens. NASA’s UStream channel will have a video of mission control live that starts at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, showing Juno’s arrival into orbit. It will also broadcast a preview at 12 p.m. Eastern. The streams will be at this link. We will add an embedded video for tonight’s Juno arrival below later today.
NASA will also have a live Facebook video feed here.
You can watch Juno making contact with Deep Space Network antenna here. Juno’s designation on the page is JNO.
To see a schedule of everything that will be happening with Juno, step by step, today, please see our story here.
Videos to Watch While You Wait for Juno’s Big Moment at Jupiter
While you’re waiting for the big moment to begin, you can also view some live simulators of what will be happening with the Juno spacecraft. NASA has a downloadable app here.
You can also watch some videos that NASA has shared that explain the Juno mission. Here is one to get you started:
And below is the Juno Jupiter Insertion Briefing that NASA held earlier today:
The goal of the Juno mission is to solve some of the mysteries of this gas giant. We’re still not sure what’s happening under Jupiter’s clouds or what type of core it has, or even exactly what’s happening in the planet’s giant red spot. The Juno spacecraft will orbit Jupiter’s poles, avoiding the more dangerous radiation belts. The craft is outfitted with a color camera, called the JunoCam, that will take close-up photos of Jupiter. NASA is even getting the public’s input on where to take the photos. The mission will end on February 20, 2018, which is when scientists expect Juno to crash into Jupiter. The craft is crashing into Jupiter’s atmosphere so it doesn’t accidentally crash land into one of Jupiter’s moons. Europa, for example, has been suspected of harboring life, which could be contaminated if the craft crashed there.