The Juno probe is facing engine trouble and so orbital re-alignment has been cancelled.
The Juno probe that is going round Jupiter is facing engine trouble. Therefore, the spacecraft’s stay at Jupiter is being put off for awhile.
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Telemetry has shown us that the two helium check valves that play a role in the firing of the spacecraft’s main engine are not operating in a proper manner. The command sequence which began yesterday did not go according to plan.
The valves ought to have opened in a matter of a few seconds. However, the standard procedure took several minutes instead. From this alone, it could be gauged that something has gone wrong.
This issue needs to be better comprehended before the burn of the engine could be dealt with. The issues here are rather complex and need to be handled with care and expertise.
The burn was set for October 19th. It would have shortened the Juno probe’s orbit from 53 days to just 2 weeks duration. The orbits having a brief duration would have allowed for a finer look at Jupiter.
Currently, NASA has made up its mind regarding the whole issue. One more lengthy orbit will be made. This will come prior to the period reduction maneuver (PRM). This news isn’t exactly a source of utter pessimism.
That is because during the October 19th maneuver, Juno would probably have shut down all its scientific instruments anyway. This would have been done so that it could focus on entering the new locus of orbit.
But this time around, it will be done with total concentration. NASA is keeping the whole matter hushed up. What path the orbit will take is a matter of conjecture.
The last visit to Jupiter saw the probe pass 4200 km above the gas clouds of the giant planet. The next trip will be on December 11th. That will be when the PRM will go into operation. Even without it, a lot of information will be gathered by the probe.