Its final destination is
Jupiter and its moons Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.
A dry voice counts
down to the launch that will send the JUICE satellite into space.
A dry voice counts down to
the launch that will send the JUICE satellite into space.
Smoke billows from the giant side boosters of the Ariane 5 rocket.
April 14, 2023, Kourou, French Guiana:

From Kongsberg to space:

Journalist: Björn Audunn Blöndal
Photo/illustration/video: ESA | Björn Audunn Blöndal

JUICE's journey
to Jupiter

Even the smallest mistake could lead to catastrophic consequences.
They've worked tirelessly for years to ensure everything goes smoothly today.
A group of engineers
intently watch the launch on a large screen.
Meanwhile, in Kongsberg:
A group of engineers
intently watch the launch on
a large screen.
Meanwhile, in Kongsberg:

"I was wearing a heart rate monitor. I think it showed 170 beats per minute," says Sylvia Omholt, head of business development in the same division.

"I'm glad I wasn't wearing one," laughs Blandhoel.

No surprise, given the project's high stakes – both literally and financially. Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace was responsible for two critical components for this mission:

"The atmosphere in this room was electric that day," recalls Martin Blandhoel, team leader at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, Division Space & Surveillance.

Martin Blandhoel

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace

Ninety-nine minutes post-launch, the next crucial phase that Kongsberg's team closely monitors begins. The two giant solar panels, totaling 85 square meters, must carefully unfold.

The panels are connected to the satellite body with a sophisticated component, a Solar Array Drive Mechanism (SADM), provided by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. This component manages the movement of the solar panels and the drive electronics that transfer power to the satellite. This component, the Solar Array Drive Electronics (SADE), is critical. A malfunction in these advanced components would leave ESA with an incredibly expensive but useless object drifting uncontrollably into deep space.

Exactly 132 seconds after launch, Ariane 5's two 31.6 meter-long booster rockets are released. They fall back to Earth and burn up in the atmosphere, while the main module continues into space, preparing to deploy JUICE. The two stages that secure the boosters to the main rocket are supplied by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

A failure here means the rocket and its valuable cargo plummet into the North Atlantic in a phenomenal blaze.



"I have complete faith in our system and our work methods," he adds calmly.

In the JUICE project, Martin was responsible for assembling the final product and conducting the extremely rigorous testing phase.

"I also contribute to design and shaping, along with the other engineers. We work in a core team of 5-6 people and have between 10 and 15 various support functions available," he explains.

"I have to distance myself from the project's risks," says Martin.

"If I dwelled on the value of this project, I wouldn't sleep at night."

The entire JUICE operation cost a neat sum of 1.6 billion euros, roughly 18.677 billion Norwegian kroner. Enough to buy about eight brand-new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Or approximately 19,000 well-equipped Teslas.

Tailor, Dressmaker, Sleeve, Sewing
Blue, Azure

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace

Sylvia Omholt
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Flash photography, Smile

"I was wearing a heart rate monitor. I think it showed 170 beats per minute."

"Next, it undergoes a thermal vacuum test. We simply simulate the environment it will operate in – out in the icy cold of space," she continues.

In space, JUICE will face temperatures down to -230 degrees Celsius, and extreme heat up to +250 degrees Celsius as it passes Venus's atmosphere. When the satellite reaches Jupiter, it will slow down considerably. Then, the bracket for the solar panels must withstand the g-forces so they don't snap right off. They're also designed to reduce vibrations from the harsh braking.

"While we build parts, assemble, and test the product, we work in a completely clean environment. We call it the cleanroom . Before entering, we change clothes, use face masks and hair nets. We have instruments measuring air particles at a molecular level," she adds.

"First, we subject the components to a vibration test to show that the product can withstand the extreme vibrations at launch," Omholt explains.

"We use a 'shaker,' a kind of table that exposes the product to similar vibrations it will undergo when shot into space. The forces at play during a rocket launch are immense," she adds.

Then comes a shock test.

The side rockets are detached by a small explosion to break the supporting stages holding them to the main rocket. Thus, the satellite and all equipment must demonstrably withstand this – with a very good margin.

"This is a meticulous job requiring a certain form of stamina," Omholt says.

For Kongsberg, the JUICE project began in 2016. In 2023, the parts were transported to Germany for assembly on the finished satellite, before being sent across the Atlantic to French Guiana.

"Moreover, it takes a full eight years before JUICE reaches Jupiter's atmosphere where it will orbit Jupiter and three of its moons," she says.

JUICE is expected to arrive at Jupiter in 2032. Then, all sensors and measuring devices will awaken, ready to collect data from the Jupiter system like never before.

Tested to the extreme
Requires stamina
Audio equipment
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Et av de overordnede målene til JUICE er å vurdere habitabiliteten – evnen en planet har til å støtte liv – til disse isete verdenene. Ved å studere deres kjemiske og fysiske forhold, sikter JUICE til å utvide vår forståelse av potensialet for liv utenfor Jorden. 

JUICE er utrustet med 10 toppmoderne vitenskapelige instrumenter, inkludert kameraer, spektrometre, en radar, et magnetometer og sensorer for plasma og partikler, og er dermed godt utstyrt for å gjennomføre omfattende studier og bidra betydelig til vår forståelse av Jupitersystemet.

Sjansen for liv

1. Jupiters atmosfære og magnetosfære
JUICE vil studere Jupiters atmosfære, inkludert dens sammensetning, dynamikk og skystruktur. Den vil også utforske Jupiters magnetosfære, som er den største i solsystemet, for å forstå dens dynamikk og samspill med solvinden.
2. Overflate og underflate på månene:
Oppdraget vil nøye undersøke overflate- og underflatestrukturer på Ganymedes, Callisto og Europa. Disse månene antas å ha undersjøiske hav under sine isete skorper, noe som gjør dem til spennende mål for studier av potensiell beboddhet på isete måner.
3. Magnetfelt og havlag
Spesielt for Ganymedes vil JUICE undersøke dets iboende magnetfelt (den eneste månen kjent for å ha ett) og samspillet med Jupiters magnetosfære. Oppdraget vil også forsøke å samle data om dybden og saltholdigheten i dets undersjøiske hav.
4. Geologi og isdynamikk
Oppdraget vil utforske geologien, sammensetningen og de fysiske egenskapene til månenes isete skorper. Dette inkluderer forståelsen av dannelsen av overflatefunksjoner, som is-sprekker og rygger, og deres implikasjoner for de indre strukturene til disse månene.
5. Søk etter organiske forbindelser
JUICE vil også søke etter organiske forbindelser og komplekse molekyler på disse månene, som kan gi ledetråder om de kjemiske prosessene som kan støtte liv.
6. Komparativ planetologi
Oppdraget vil også bidra til komparativ planetologi ved å gi innsikt i dannelsen og utviklingen av gassgiganter og deres måner, noe som forbedrer vår forståelse av solsystemet.

Her er noen av målingene som blir gjort:

One of JUICE's overarching goals is to assess the habitability – the ability of a planet to support life – of these icy worlds. By studying their chemical and physical conditions, JUICE aims to expand our understanding of the potential for life beyond Earth.

JUICE is equipped with 10 state-of-the-art scientific instruments, including cameras, spectrometers, a radar, a magnetometer, and plasma and particle sensors, making it well-suited for comprehensive studies and significantly contributing to our understanding of the Jupiter system.

Searching for life

1. Jupiter's Atmosphere and Magnetosphere
JUICE will study Jupiter's atmosphere, including its composition, dynamics, and cloud structure. It will also explore Jupiter's magnetosphere, the largest in the solar system, to understand its dynamics and interaction with the solar wind.
2. Surface and Subsurface of the Moons:
The mission will closely examine the surface and subsurface structures of Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. These moons are thought to have subsurface oceans beneath their icy crusts, making them exciting targets for studies of potential habitability on icy moons.
3. Magnetic Fields and Ocean Layers
Especially for Ganymede, JUICE will investigate its intrinsic magnetic field (the only moon known to have one) and interaction with Jupiter's magnetosphere. The mission will also attempt to gather data on the depth and salinity of its subsurface ocean.
4. Geology and Ice Dynamics
The mission will explore the geology, composition, and physical properties of the moons' icy crusts. This includes understanding the formation of surface features, like ice cracks and ridges, and their implications for the internal structures of these moons.
5. Search for Organic Compounds
JUICE will also search for organic compounds and complex molecules on these moons, which could provide clues about the chemical processes that might support life.
6. Comparative Planetology
The mission will also contribute to comparative planetology by providing insights into the formation and evolution of gas giants and their moons, enhancing our understanding of the solar system.

Here are some of the measurements being made:

Due to its long expedition time and all the scientific instruments on board, JUICE is a relatively large satellite. It measures 4m x 3m x 5m and weighs about 5,300 kg. The wingspan of the carbon-reinforced solar panels is an impressive 27 meters, equivalent to the length of a basketball court.

The reason JUICE needs such large solar panels – in floor space equivalent to a spacious Oslo apartment – is due to the vast distance from the sun to Jupiter. The farther from the sun, the less energy the panels can generate from the precious rays. The sunlight is 25 times weaker compared to Earth.

It's not until 2031 that JUICE arrives at the Jupiter system, and the engineering team will again gather in front of the large screen showing the first transmitted images from Jupiter.

"Being part of projects at this level is one of the coolest things we can ever imagine," they express.

"We almost forget it ourselves, but we actually sit here in Kongsberg producing critical equipment for the space industry. And we are world leading in what we do. It's incredibly fun," he says.

"The coolest thing we can ever imagine"

"What drives us here is working on something special – something not many others work on."

Martin Blandhoel. 

Ganymedes er den største månen i solsystemet og er faktisk større enn planeten Merkur. Den har en tykk iskappe som dekker et hav med flytende vann under overflaten. Ganymedes er også kjent for sine mange kratere og fjellformasjoner. Dette er den første månen Juice kommer til å fly forbi, og på mange måter Juice sitt hovedmål. Juice ankommer Ganymedes i juli 2031.


Jupiters måner


Jupiters isete måner er av stor interesse for forskere da de kan inneholde viktige spor av liv eller ha forholdene som er nødvendige for liv. Ved å studere disse månene kan vi få en økt forståelse av hvordan planeter dannes og om muligheten for liv i vårt eget solsystem.

Her er de tre månene som Juice skal hente data fra:

Callisto er den tredje største månen i solsystemet og har en overflate som er dekket av kratere. Forskere tror Callisto har den eldste, uberørte overflaten av alle månene og dermed kan si noe om Jupiter og dens måners tidlige utvikling. Månen har også spor av is og vann, og det er mulig at det kan finnes flytende saltvann under overflaten. Juice passerer denne i juli 2032.




Europa er bare bittelitt mindre enn vår egen måne, og er ansett å være en av de mest interessante månene rundt Jupiter når det gjelder potensialet for liv. Den har en ung, aktiv og glatt overflate dekket av is. Og det er nettopp den glatte overflaten som kan være en indikasjon på et globalt flytende hav under isen. Europa har også sprukne formasjoner og geysirer som kan inneholde livsviktige kjemikalier. Juice passerer denne i juli 2032.



Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system and is larger than the planet Mercury. It has a thick ice cap covering an ocean of liquid water beneath the surface. Ganymede is also known for its many craters and mountain formations. This is the first moon JUICE will pass by, and in many ways, JUICE's main objective. JUICE arrives at Ganymede in July 2031.


Jupiter's Moons


Jupiter's icy moons are of great interest to scientists as they may contain vital clues to life or possess the conditions necessary for life. Studying these moons could enhance our understanding of how planets form and the possibility of life in our own solar system.

Here are the three moons that JUICE will gather data from:

Callisto is the third largest moon in the solar system and has a surface covered in craters. Scientists believe Callisto has the oldest, untouched surface of all the moons, thus providing insights into the early development of Jupiter and its moons. The moon also has traces of ice and water, and there might be liquid saltwater beneath the surface. JUICE passes this moon in July 2032.




Europa is just slightly smaller than our own moon and is considered one of the most intriguing moons around Jupiter in terms of potential for life. It has a young, active, and smooth surface covered in ice. The smooth surface may indicate a global liquid ocean under the ice. Europa also has cracked formations and geysers that may contain life-sustaining chemicals. JUICE passes this moon in July 2032.




JUICE will conduct detailed observations of Jupiter and the three major ocean-bearing moons Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. The goal is to map these moons and investigate whether they can be habitats for life. The satellite will also study Jupiter's complex environment and explore the broader Jupiter system to gain more knowledge about other gas giants in the universe.

JUICE is packed with advanced technology and a variety of instruments to conduct different observations and measurements. In fact, JUICE is one of the heaviest interplanetary probes ever sent out, and it carries the largest collection of scientific instruments ever flown to Jupiter.

The satellite must function flawlessly under extremely harsh conditions: relentless radioactive radiation, temperatures ranging from a freezing -250 to +230 degrees Celsius, and strong mechanical impacts.

Kongsberg Gruppen has also delivered the solar panels that will power the satellite throughout the entire expedition – even when it is hundreds of millions of kilometers from the sun.

Kongsberg Gruppen has supplied the stages that attach the side rockets to Ariane 5 - the main rocket that will lift the satellite into the atmosphere. Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace has provided the electronics that ensure the huge solar panel, spanning 85 square meters, turns towards the sun when the satellite needs power – and away from the sun when the temperature gets too high, like when it passes Venus.

JUICE stands for Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer. The satellite is now en route to space to explore Jupiter and its moons. It is expected to arrive at Jupiter in June 2031. The satellite is part of a collaborative project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and several national space organizations.

What is ESA?
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organization dedicated to space exploration and the development of space technology. ESA was established in 1975 and consists of 22 member countries today.
What is ESA?
ESA's main goal is to coordinate European space activities in research, development, and space exploration. The agency is involved in everything from the design and development of spacecraft and satellites to conducting scientific missions, navigation systems, telecommunications, and Earth observation. ESA also closely collaborates with other space organizations, like NASA in the USA, to carry out joint missions and projects.
What is ESA?
ESA is headquartered in Paris, France, and has various facilities spread across member countries to conduct its different programs. Over the years, ESA has been involved in numerous successful space missions, including probes to other planets, launches of satellites for Earth observation, telescopes to study the universe, and other manned and unmanned space missions.
Jupiter er den største planeten i solsystemet vårt og er over 11 ganger større enn Jorden i diameter.
Den består av en enorm masse som utgjør omtrent 2,5 ganger massen til alle andre planeter i solsystemet kombinert.
Jupiter har en tykk atmosfære dominert av hydrogen og helium. Den har også skyer. Disse kan vi observere som de kjente fargede båndene som strekker seg rundt planeten.
Jupiter er kjent for sine kraftige stormer, hvorav den mest kjente er den store røde flekken. Denne stormen har rast i over 300 år og er større enn Jorden.
Jupiter har også en imponerende samling av måner, med over 70 kjente. Noen av de mest kjente inkluderer Ganymedes, Callisto, Europa og Io.
Jupiter magnetfelt er omtrent 20 000 ganger kraftigere enn jordens magnetfelt.
Jupiter har tidligere fått besøk av romsondene Pioneer 10 og 11, Voyager 1 og 2, Galileo og Juno. Neste gang er det JUICE sin tur.
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