Lift Off! ESA launches JUICE into space

14th Apr 2023
Lift Off! ESA launches JUICE into space

The European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) spacecraft is launching this week. We’ll keep you updated here on the progress. How to watch the JUICE launch might seem complicated given the changes in the launch date. Remember, “Space is hard”, and sometimes, so is watching it! Here’s what you need to know.

Lift Off!

The latest European Space Agency mission to study Jupiter and its three largest moons was successfully launched today, on Friday the 14th of April.

The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) spacecraft launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket at 09:14 (local time) from the spaceport in French Guiana – marking the last ESA launch with the soon-to-be-retired rocket from Kourou. The launch was delayed by one day due to the “risk of lightning” on Thursday, Arianespace said.

Esa JUICE launch
Credit: ESA Youtube


The spacecraft, launching on an Ariane 5 rocket, was scheduled to blast off at 13:15 BST/ 14:15 CEST/ 12:15 GMT on Thursday, the 13th of April. However, that flight was delayed due to weather conditions (risk of lightning) at the scheduled liftoff time from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. The Ariane 5 launch vehicle and its passenger JUICE are in a stable and safe condition.

The new targeted launch date is April 14, 2023, at:

08:14 a.m. Washington, D.C. time,

09:14 a.m. Kourou time,

12:14 p.m. Universal time (UTC),

02:14 p.m. Paris time,

12:14 a.m., April 15, Tokyo time.

Where to watch?

There are two main ways to watch the livestream: Either through ESA’s Web TV or ESA’s Youtube Channel. French viewers can access ESA’s Web TV Two.

Event sequence (local time in France)

14:15 CEST: JUICE launches on Ariane 5 from the European spaceport in French Guiana.

14:42 CEST: JUICE separates from Ariane 5 upper stage

14:51 CEST: Earliest chance for ESA to acquire signal from JUICE

15:55 CEST: Expected completion of solar array deployment

Following the launch

Over the weeks following the launch of JUICE, as the spacecraft begins its eight year journey toward Jupiter, ESA will announce the deployment of various instruments, including its antennas and instrument booms.

JUICE has two monitoring cameras onboard to capture important sequences, such as the solar array deployment and its 16-meter long radar antenna. ESA says if “suitable images” are taken, they will be made public.

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