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18th of April 2023
JUICE launch
ESA’s JUICE mission launched on 14 April 2023 at 12:14 UTC (8:14 pm AWST) on an Ariane 5 rocket from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. A one-day delay in the launch, caused by the threat of lightning at the launch site, resulted in an unexpected bonus for attendees at the Ancient Lands Under Brilliant Skies Festival in the Murchison region of WA, with the satellite clearly visible as it left Earth. JUICE will take a circuitous, energy-efficient route, with the aid of four separate "gravity assist" planetary flybys. The first of these slingshot encounters will take place in August 2024 and involve both Earth and the moon, followed by a gravity assist from Venus in August 2025, then two more Earth fly-bys in September 2026 and January 2029. JUICE ("Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer") will finally reach its destination in 2031. (Image credit: Chris Brayton)

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