NASA's Juno spacecraft marks halfway point in Jupiter mission

This month, NASA's Juno spacecraft marks the halfway point in its prime mission to collect data on the planet Jupiter.

On Dec. 21, Juno will be 3,140 miles above Jupiter's cloud tops and hurtling by at a healthy clip of 128,802 mph, NASA says.  This will be the solar-powered spacecraft's 16th science pass of the gas giant. 

Juno is in a highly-elliptical 53-day orbit around Jupiter. Each orbit includes a close passage over the planet's cloud deck, where it flies a ground track that extends from Jupiter's north pole to its south pole.

Launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016 and began data collection on an Aug. 27, 2016, flyby.


Information provided by NASA.