Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Johns Hopkins APL Delivers "Backbone" of NASA's Europa Clipper Spacecraft

 Johns Hopkins APL Delivers "Backbone" of NASA's Europa Clipper Spacecraft

After years of design and construction, two cross-country trips and thousands of hours of labor, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has delivered NASA's Europa Clipper propulsion module—the spacecraft's “workhorse"—and its radio frequency module to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for integration with the remainder of the spacecraft. 

At about 10 feet (3 meters) tall and 5 feet (1.5 meters) in diameter, Europa Clipper’s propulsion module comprises about two-thirds of the spacecraft’s main body. It’s effectively the backbone, carrying its own electronics system and thermal control, and anchoring the spacecraft's telecommunications subsystem. 

The completed structure was shipped May 31 from Joint Base Andrews (JBA) in Maryland to JPL, marking a major milestone for the team developing the largest spacecraft ever for a NASA planetary mission.

More About the Europa Clipper Mission

Missions, such as Europa Clipper, contribute to the field of astrobiology—the interdisciplinary research on the variables and conditions of distant worlds that could harbor life as we know it. While Europa Clipper is not a life-detection mission, it will conduct detailed reconnaissance of Europa and investigate whether the icy moon, with its subsurface ocean, has the capability to support life. Understanding Europa’s habitability will help scientists better understand how life developed on Earth and the potential for finding life beyond our planet.

Managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California, JPL leads the development of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, executes program management of the Europa Clipper mission.

Download Europa Clipper Ocean World poster: go.nasa.gov/3Gsjzt5

For more information on the mission go to: https://europa.nasa.gov/

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL) 

Duration: 1 minute, 32 seconds

Release Date: June 6, 2022

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