Flemish technology brings Jupiter closer


Ruimtevaartbedrijf Antwerp Space voltooit systeem dat in 2029 communicatie mogelijk maakt tussen onbemande Jupiter-sonde JUICE met grondstations op aarde.

The company Antwerp Space is finalising a system that will enable communication between the unmanned Jupiter spacecraft JUICE and ground stations in 2029.

The gulf between Earth and Jupiter will be bridged in the coming years. Over the past four years, Antwerp Space has been working on the development of a high-tech communication system that is currently integrated into an unmanned satellite in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The craft is scheduled to launch from French Guiana in 2022 and due to arrive in orbit around Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, in 2029. From there, JUICE will spend three and a half years studying the turbulent atmosphere, the immense magnetosphere, the faint black rings, the satellites around the giant planet, and its icy moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto. There could be life on these moons, as the icy crusts are expected to hide oceans of liquid water. It will take just 50 minutes for the spacecraft to exchange data between Jupiter and ground stations in Kiruna (Sweden), Darmstadt (Germany) and Redu (Belgium), among others, which are no less than 900 million km away. The international mission will end in 2024 and JUICE will remain on Jupiter.

Antwerp Space has already developed a new modem for the International Space Station (ISS), which orbits Earth at an altitude of 300 km. The astronauts will attach it to the outside of the ISS to communicate more quickly with Earth.