Europe’s JUICE space mission launches for Jupiter’s icy moons
The European Space Agency’s JUICE mission to explore Jupiter’s icy, ocean-bearing moons will blasted off on Friday, a day after the first launch attempt was called off due to the threat of lightning.
The spacecraft was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 12:14 GMT, 30 seconds earlier than Thursday’s aborted effort.
The uncrewed, six-tonne spacecraft will embark on an eight-year journey through the Solar System aiming to discover whether Jupiter’s moons are capable of hosting extraterrestrial life in the vast oceans hidden under their ice-covered shells.
Thursday’s launch was called off just minutes before the countdown was set to begin, disappointing those gathered in the Jupiter control room in Kourou, including Belgium’s King Philippe.