NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin‘s mission support area have workedÂ together to operate and place the company-builtÂ Juno spacecraft into a large elliptical polar orbit around Jupiter.
Lockheed said Monday the probe reached Jupiter Monday evening after a 1.76-billion-mile journeyÂ in the last five years.
A team of engineers fromÂ theÂ company and the agencyÂ sent final commands to ready Juno for the orbit insertion four days prior to the execution of the mission to put the spacecraft in autopilot to initially orbit around the planetÂ for 53 days.
â€œTonight, 540 million miles away, Juno performed a precisely choreographed dance at blazing speeds with the largest, most intense planet in our solar system,â€ said Guy Beutelschies,Â director of interplanetary missions at Lockheed’sÂ space systems business.
The company notedÂ the mission looks to understandÂ of the formation and evolution of JupiterÂ and the solar system over the next 20 months as well as investigateÂ the planet’s origins, interior structure, deep atmosphere and magnetosphere.
Juno was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V 551 rocket in August 2011 as part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, LockheedÂ noted.