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The four white spires that surround Juno’s launch pad are lightning towers, protecting the spacecraft from lightning strikes.
Lightning TowersSurrounding the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida are four lightning towers, each more than 300 feet tall. Given that central Florida is one of the most active regions in the world when it comes to lightning strikes, NASA has always built lightning towers around launch pads. Grounded wires direct any lightning strikes harmlessly into the ground.
A COSMIC EVENT
Launching Juno into space takes everything we know.
A Cosmic Event
The Atlas V 551 rocket has a certain mass limit, and the margin for error is slim.
Mass BudgetA rocket like the Atlas V 551 can only carry so much mass into space. As engineers planned the mission, they had to follow a tight budget for the spacecraft’s load, which includes propellant, science instruments, and communication antennas.
Check out the key stages of the launch.
READY TO FLY
Is Juno prepared for the journey ahead? Pre-launch tests trick the spacecraft into thinking it’s in space.
Ready to Fly
WHEN DO WE DEPART?
Juno has to launch within a tight window in time to reach Jupiter on schedule.
When do we depart?To get to Jupiter, Juno had to launch when the planets were aligned properly. The launch period happened only between August 5th and August 26th of 2011. If Juno missed this period, it would have had to wait another 13 months for the planets to align again. Each day during these three weeks there’s a launch window of only a few hours around noon Eastern Time.