In a key triumph, NASA’s $1.1 billion Juno spacecraft successfully entered into the orbit around Jupiter on Tuesday. NASA Juno spacecraft is on a mission to probe the origin of the solar system.
The solar observatory successfully entered the orbit around the biggest planet at 11:53 pm (0353 GMT Tuesday) leading to celebrations at the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, celebrated. "We are in it," hollered Scott Bolton, NASA's principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
"You are the best team ever," he told his colleagues at mission control. "You just did the hardest thing NASA has ever done."
Since its launch five years ago from Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA Juno spacecraft has traveled 1.7 billion miles (2.7 billion kilometers).
When NASA Juno spacecraft fired its engines to slow down enough to slip into Jupiter's orbit, it was traveling at a speed of more than 130,000 miles per hour (209,200 kilometers per hour). The orbit insertion started at 11:18 pm (0318 GMT) on July 4, the US national independence day holiday.
"We see the expected sharp shift upward in the Doppler residuals indicating that the engine has started," said an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as applause filled the mission control room.